By ABDUL SIDI
Rajbir Rai and Tim Challen registered their second victory in the 2014 KCB Kenya National Rally Championship and third of their career by winning in the KCB Kisumu Rally on Saturday in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10.
Saturday’s victory was good news for the crew which is fresh from winning the Ugandan Rally. Rai, who has emerged as one of the surprise drivers of the season, drove faultlessly for another victory in one of the most dramatic rounds of the KCB-sponsored series that saw most of the leading drivers struggle.
“We drove very sensibly especially over the rocks and rough terrain. I think that helped our rhythm well. Luckily, we also survived a puncture in the last eight kilometres of the last stage where we decided to drive on to finish the rally in a winning position. Fortunately it was soft soil so the risk of damaging anything was less,’’ said Rai after checking in at the final Time Control.
With Carl Tundo second in his Proton S2000 and Baldev Chager’s Mitsubishi Lancer finishing outside the top 10 in Kisumu yesterday, the battle for the series title will now move to the final event at next month’s where Guru Nanak Rally.
For Tundo to secure the title, he has to win the last round and hope Chager finishes outside the top three. With the Guru Nanak Rally providing 80 points to the winner and the difference between Chager and Tundo being only 34 points, the fight is expected to be one of the closest in the KNRC series.
LOST VALUABLE TIME
Apart from a puncture in the opening stage, Chager survived a damaged sump-guard and oil pump which were later replaced at service park, although he had already lost valuable time on his way to finishing in fourth place. Tundo’s downfall was also due to two punctures that saw him lose the lead of the rally.
“The event was frustrating for us. We picked up two punctures along the way and I think we let the car down. Hopefully, we’ve taken some points back from the rally but we could taken maximum points had we not suffered a puncture,” said Tundo.
Azar Anwar, one of the oldest drivers in the competition at 61, and his navigator Pastor Julius Ngigi stayed on course to finish in third place in yet another Mitsubishi Lancer.
New kids on the block Karan Patel and Ronak Shah produced yet another commendable performance in the ongoing series with Patel and his co-driver Tauseef Khan finishing fifth overall and first in the Group S Class driving a Subaru Impreza while Shah and Riyaz Ismail accomplished his mission in seventh place, driving a similar car.
Eldoret-based Galib Hajee also emerged as one of the successful drivers by recording one of his best results in the series. His Lancer was placed eighth.
Among the leading casualties included Finland’s Tapio Laukkanen, whose attempt to become the first-ever British and Finnish champion to win a local round of the Kenya National Rally Championship, failed after he destroyed the front right hand side of his Subaru Impreza in the second competitive stage of the event.
Courtesy of nation.co.ke