BY SAMSON ATEKA

Former Britain and Finland rally champion Tapio Laukkanen will be the star attraction in this Saturday’s KCB Voi Rally slated for Rukinga Ranch near Maungu.

Tapio, who is yet to score the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) points in the last two events, will be navigated by Pasi Torma in his now fancied Subaru Impreza which is an R4.

Tapio took an early lead in Kisumu after winning the season-opening Equator Motor Club round of the KNRC but retired on a remote service zone in Meru during the 63rd Safari Rally. He didn’t participate in Kajiado Rally due to personal reasons.

Tapio, who is one of the few top drivers still running a Subaru, is expected to fight for points against the S2000 Protons of Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo and R5 Ford Fiestas of Manvir Baryan and Rajbir Rai. Mitsubishi Evolution-X drivers include Raaji Bharij of Team Delights, Jassi Singh Chatthe (Team Kibos), the Kabras Sugar Racing trio of KNRC defending champion Baldev Singh Chager, Onkar Rai and Tejveer Rai. After skipping Kajiado, Quentin Mitchell is expected back in action in his Skoda Fabia S2000.

Elsewhere, Farhaaz Khan will be going for his maiden finish of the season. After retiring in the first three events of the 2015 KNRC, Farhaaz and his partner Riyaz Ismail anticipate better reliability from their ex-Jassi Chatthe Evolution 9.

“In Kisumu, we had handling issues. Safari was a fuel misfire and the last one in Kajiado, we had electrical issues. We look to finish the next one and hope for a clean run,” Farhaaz said. Two wheel drive leader Eric Bengi said his game plan in Voi will be “to keep it neat and tidy and hope to bring good results home.”

“This is our first coast rally as competitors. In last Mombasa rally, our car had not been cleared. We will take Voi and the rest of the season with a lot of caution and calculated risk. We will keep it neat and tidy and we hope to bring home good results. We hope to finish as many events as possible for the rest of the season by God’s grace,” said Bengi.

In another development, Mombasa-based Thumbs Rally drivers are psyched up for the forthcoming Voi Rally. Thumbs Team will this time round enter two Subarus and a state-of-the-art Mitsubishi on their home rally. The event, organised by Mombasa Motor Club, will revolve around Voi town and Rukinga Ranch near Maungu on Saturday.

The Team comprises of Kana siblings (Nadeem and Arif) and Shiraz Yusuf who becomes the newest member in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10. Shiraz used to drive a Subaru Legacy.

“We welcome Shiraz of Ocean Engineering to rallying and as our main sponsor for the rest of the season. We are proud to be associated with Ocean Engineering and look forward to a great racing season ahead. We will be tackling our home rally in an ex- Alasdair Keith’s GC8 car. This will be my first home KNRC in a 4WD. I have won the MMC Rally twice in South Coast and Malindi last year. My brother Arif will drive my championship winning 2WD Subaru,” said Nadeem.

Courtesy of the-star.co.ke

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