BY SAMSON ATEKA
There is a new wind of change whiffing through local motorsport scene where youngsters barely out of their teens have come out strongly to stake a claim of supremacy from veteran and aging drivers.
The top guns have the zeal, organisational acumen, raw talent and access to the top-of-the-range machinery to actualize this dream as early as 2015 when leadership at the top may be altered irrevocably. Rajbir Singh Rai, Onar Rai,Tejveer Rai and Mitchell Quentin are all in their 20s and each one of them is supported commercially and is driving the Mitsubishi Evo X or Skoda S2000.
Now the new kid on the blocks is Karan Patel whose 2016/17 season has been meticulously chartered to bring him at par with his peer group and help him gate-crash into the big boys exclusive club.
First after five races in out-dated 1998 Subaru Impreza Group S, Patel is raring to wrap up the season with another impressive performance after finishing fifth in Kisumu and his mission is to inter-face performance and modern day sports marketing on behalf of sponsors for maximum brand visibility. He sees himself as an agent for this change in approach. Patel is not blowing hot air. Against all odds, Patel has managed to put up a brave fight which has brightened his visibility in rally scene six months after his debut.
As is expected, the Kiambu Formula Club Championship was nowhere near competitive but he didn’t finish. But in KNRC 3, Patel notched a 12th, followed this with a 7th in Nakuru and against all odds finished 9th in the Safari. This gave him the Safari Group ‘S’ crown and a pole position to finish the year with something as he keeps ahead of Guru Nanak, where he expects to win the Group ‘S’ national title.
In the Safari Patel’s progression was quite impressive. After being ranked 25th in the first competitive section, Migaa in Kiambu, Patel regaled in the slopes of mount Kenya, moving to 21st in the section followed by 19th fastest, 18th then 14th before settling to 12th. He moved to 9th where he remained in the last four sections as the field was being decimated with each competitive mileage. “It was an eye opener but we really enjoyed this,” said Patel.
He is now 11th overall in the national standing.
He said his biggest drawback in the Safari was the sluggish Subaru compared to the fire spitting Evolution monsters which exited out of twisty sections at incredible speeds. Together with co-driver Tauseef Khan, they hopelessly out-paced in straights. In order to achieve the most from rallying, Patel has turned to his team of engineers and logistics led by his father Kiran Patel, a former rally navigator to approach his programme from a business master plan angle.
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke