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A Wet Kisumu Rally Leaves the Title Race Wide Open

11th May, 2016

In the Kenyan context at least, the weather forecasts were correct this past weekend. This was one of the wettest rallies we have had in recent years if you don’t count the KCB Kajiado rally late in 2015. Kisumu City was the host of the KNRC round 2, an event marred by weather challenges that saw three out of the five competitive stages cancelled.

First we would like to wish legendary rally driver Ian Duncan a quick recovery. Ian was forced to retire even though he was leading after the first stage due to medical reasons. We wish him best of luck as he prepares for the Safari Rally slated for June 10-12.

It took him a while. Last time he won in Kisumu was the year 1998. Baldev Chager navigated by Ravi Soni clinched the win with Rajbir Rai coming  a close second (14 seconds) and Manvir Baryan taking the last podium spot.

History was again made in Kisumu. In the year 2015, the Kisumu rally saw the debut of the Ford Fiesta R5s in Kenya. Feisty tiny machines they are. This past weekend saw two Ford Fiestas on the podium for the first time ever. Rabjir & Manvir are certainly getting used to these machines and it’s only a matter of time before one of them wins a series or a championship.

This was also a very good rally for the all ladies team of Natasha Tundo & Chantal Young, coming at an impressive 12th overall position. They keep breaking barriers in the sport and we can only hope that they inspire more ladies to join the sport.

On the flip side, the favorites did not do so well. Tapio Laukkanen who was a huge favorite to win this weekend had punctures in both stages and could only manage a 14th overall position. Certainly an unfamiliar position for him but an exciting one for the fans because it leaves the championship battle open for all.

The home town boy & defending KNRC and African Rally Champion Jassi Chatthe had a really bad day at the office. Engine problems saw him waste 20 minutes in stage one which left him with an insurmountable task of recovering. He did manage to finish though which meant he got some points on the board.

After just two rallies, at the top, it’s open season. Currently the championship is a six horse race. Everything a fan could ask for. Baldev, Ian, Tapio and Jassi are all chasing the championship this season but the two Ford Fiestas we bet will have something to say about it too. Many see Rajbir & Manvir as the future of the sport and both are currently hanging in there on the chase.

The Safari Rally which will be in June will not disappoint. The Safari Rally means double points, so you can bet everyone will bring their A game. The Safari Rally this year will see us go back to the scenic plains of Elementaita on June 10-12, so it will be a very exciting weekend of rallying.

Kenya National Rally Championship Standings (Top 6)

No. Driver Overall Points
1. Baldev Chager 37
2. Manvir Baryan 33
3. Rajbir Rai 29
4. Tapio Laukkanen 27
5. Ian Duncan 21
6. Jassi Chatthe 20

 

By: Brian Kuira

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