Legendary Japanese World Rally Championship driver Kenjiro Shinozuka is in town for this weekend’s KCB Kenya Motor sports Club Rally in Kajiado this weekend.

The former Mitsubishi Ralliart Team driver is in Nairobi to drive a Zero Car during the Kajiado event. Shinozuka was among those who attended the KCB media briefing yesterday morning at the Pan Afric Hotel.

His host, who is the CEO of Delights Motors, Toshi Saito said: “Shinozuka is more than happy to step on this soil again. Though this is first time to meet him, he is treating me like one of the family. I’m happiest man in the world,” Toshi said.

Retired navigator Abdul Sidi who competed against Shinozuka back in the days, said: “I have seen him for as long as I can remember. To have him back here is a great honour for the rally. He won the Paris Dakar but couldn’t win the Safari Rally. This to me means the Safari is the world’s toughest.”

Shinozuka on his part said: “I have always enjoyed rallying in Kenya. Last year, I went to a historic rally in Spain. In this rally I will drive a Subaru Impreza as a zero car. Kajiado is a very famous place for me. Many Safaris that I did back then have always been in Kajiado. This time I am in Kenya to drive a road opening car which runs 15 meters before the first rally car and I can’t wait to be in Kajiado this weekend. I did Safari 8 times and I always have sweet memories for it. The first time I did Safari was 1976 when the late Joginder Singh won. I was 10th in 1977. I did my last Safari in 1996 but all in all 1976 was great. I was 6th overall on my first ever WRC. 1977 was very rainy. It was a 5-day, 6000km event and I remember having slept for only 5 hours that time. It was surely the hardest rally for me, so this was memorable,” said Shinozuka.

Delights rally team is new in Kenya and sponsors Raaji Bharij and Alfir Khan who made a comeback after four years in the cold. Meanwhile physically challenged rally driver Nikhil Sachania is set to unveil a new state-of-the-art “monster” during the Kajiado show. The 2014 winner of Sportsman with a disability will unveil the Fiat Grande Punto, which becomes the fourth S2000 to be owned by a local driver. The Grande Punto is originally from Italy but it was acquired from Spain as the ex-driver Albert Llovera is from there.

Last year, Alastair Cavenagh and Carl Tundo acquired Proton Neo Satria S2000 cars from Malaysia with Quentin Mitchell bringing in a Skoda Fabia S2000.

The entry for the event organised by Kenya Motor Sports Club (KMSC) closed yesterday with S2000 Fiat Grande Punto being the centre of attraction.

Fiat Grande Punto S2000 model first graced the Kenya National Rally Championship scene in the 2007 Safari Rally when Fiat Abarth works team from Italy entered two drivers in Umberto Scandola and Andrea Navara. Sachania becomes the first local to drive a Grande Punto which is a customised hand- controlled car.

Yesterday, Sachania worked overnight trying to keep the car in good shape ahead of Saturday’s event that will be flagged off outside KCB branch in Kitengela on Saturday. “The car is from Guideosimplex in Spain and is custom made. The experience of driving it in Spain was great and I can’t wait to drive it on our soil,” said Nikhil, adding: “We have started to work on the car (Grande Punto) yesterday (Monday) and through the night (yesterday). Today (yesterday) we are mapping the car and then testing it,” Nikhil said

Courtesy of the-star.co.ke


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