Defending champ Rai to start fourth in first round of national series

Thursday February 15 2018

By ABDUL SIDI
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Defending Nakuru Rally champion, Onkar Rai is seeded number fourth in this opening round of the 2018 Kenya National Rally Championship that begins on Saturday morning.

Rai’s Skoda Fabia will be among the 24 cars that have entered the Top Fry-sponsored Nakuru event.

The Kabras Rally Team driver finished fifth in the overall standings of the 2017 KNRC season. He will be partnered by Gareth Dawe.

Karan Patel, who won the 2017 Division One title, will start off first in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10.

He will be navigated by James Mwangi, who clinched the Division one Navigator’s Crown.

Each of the top-eight finishers from the previous championship (in this case from end of 2017) has to start first on road in one of the eight rounds of the series for fair play, according to organisers.

The rotation system is to make sure that the same drivers do not “open” the stages in all rallies.

Not all drivers, however courageous or fast would like to start off first on road as that would mean clearing the route for the following cars.

The numbers on the doors of the cars are based on the final standings in last season’s championships.

Anyone who did not feature in the previous championship and intends to tackle an event this season is awarded a number from 100 or 200 upwards.

This also applies to the foreign drivers.

National defending champion, Ian Duncan will be navigated by Anthony Nielson. The Mitsubishi Lancer crew is seeded at number two. Jassi Chatthe will have a new navigator, James Morgan, from the United Kingdom. They are seeded at number three in their Mitsubishi Lancer.

The main competition will start from the Nakuru Athletics Club at 8am on Saturday.

The Longest Stage will be 30.7km, while the shortest stage will be 20.49km. A distance of 23.36km will be on open roads while 127.44km will be concentrated on private land.

Official reconnaissance of the route will be done ton Friday together with scrutineering.

Meanwhile, the organisers will use one of the latest timing system in the competition.

ENTRY LIST

1. (car no. 8) Karan Patel/James Mwangi (Mitsubishi Evolution 10); 2. (1) Ian Duncan /Anthony Nielsen (Mitsubishi Evolution 10); 3. (7) Jaspreet Chatthe/James Morgan (Mitsubishi Evolution 10); 4. (6) Onkar Rai/Gareth Dawe (Skoda Fabia); 5. (5) Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (Mitsubishi Evolution 10); 6. (4) Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturrock (Skoda Fabia); 7. (3) Carl Tundo Tim/Jessop (Mitsubishi Evolution 10); 8. (9) Tejveer Rai/Zahir Shah- (Mitsubishi Evolution 10); 9. (10) Farhaaz Khan/Keith Henrie (Mitsubishi Evolution 10); 10. (12) Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (Mitsubishi Evolution 10);

11. (14) Eric Bengi/Tuta Mionki (Subaru Impreza N12); 12. (18) Minesh Rathod/Shameer Yusuf (Mitsubishi Evolution 10); 13. (19) Aakif Virani/Azhar Bhatti (Subaru Impreza N14); 14. (29) Ammar Haq/Victor Okundi (Mitsubishi Evolution 10); 15. (41) Sohanjeet Puee/Gurveer Pandhal (Subaru Impreza N10); 16. (43) Daren Miranda/Wayne Fernandes (Subaru Impreza); 17. (42) Edward Maina/John Ngugi (Subaru Impreza); 18. (38) Sammy Nyorri/Mwangi Kioni (Toyota RunX), 19. (32) Charles Hinga/TBA (Toyota RunX),  20. (47) Nikhil Sachania /Alfir Khan (Mitsubishi Evolution 10);  

21. (53) Imran Khan /Kennedy Masoni (Subaru Impreza N10); 22. (55) Lovejyot Singh/Linet Ayuko (Subaru Impreza N10); 23. (56) Hamza Anwar/Salim Khan (Toyota Sprinter); 24. (54) Sarit Shah/Kigondu Kareithi (Toyota Corolla RSI)