Finland speedster, Tapio Laukkanen navigated by compatriot Pasi Torma led from start to finish to win the opening round of the Kenya National Rally Championship at the KCB Kajiado Rally on Saturday.
The former British and Finland rally champion achieved the feat after clinching three out of four stages around Kajiado, Il-Bissel and Parane.
The “Flying Finn” relegated local ace Ian Duncan to second with a 1.38 minutes margin while reigning Kenya and Africa champion Jaspreet Chatthe rounded the podium in a time of 1:19:59, 39 seconds adrift of the 1994 Safari Rally winner and six-time national champion.
Former Uganda champion, Jas Mangat who won the 10km Marble-Parane section finished fourth.
Tapio’s blistering pace in Kajiado stunned the motoring fraternity more so on the long 60km Il-Bissel-Enchoro Stage where he beat Duncan by a yawning 1:30.
“It was a good day with no major drama. The car handled really well on all the stages. We attacked the second stage but didn’t expect beating Duncan by such a big margin. This is definitely a good way for us to start the season but the essence as the season progresses will be to look after our car and try to finish as many events as possible,” said Tapio said upon checking in at AIC Girls Kajiado School which hosted the finish and service park.
“We were driving within our limits while also trying to avoid unnecessary risks. We felt a bit rusty at the rust as we have not driven since Guru Nanak last October. But hats off to Tapio. His speeds are just out of this world. We hope to maintain our pace in the remaining seven events,” Chatthe said of his podium run.
Out of the 39 cars which started the event at the KCB Kajiado branch, only 13 failed to master the demanding conditions.
Carl Tundo who drove a Group S Subaru GC8 retired after CS1-Kajiado Hospital stage with a broken drive shaft. Youngster Karan Patel retired 30kilomiters into the second stage after his clutch pack up.
Menengai Cream sponsored Issa Amwari kissed the event goodbye with drive shaft problems . Other casualties in the rally were Hussein Malik, Aaakif Virani, Alex lairangim, McRae Kimathi, debutant Josiah Kariuki, Geoff Mayes, Pavit Kenth and Daren Miranda.
Tanzania Jamil Khan failed to honour’s much anticipated debut in Kenya after failing to show up at Kajiado start.Safari rally will be the next event over Easter holiday.
FULL RESULTS KCB KAJIADO RALLY
1. Tapio Laukkanen (Subaru GVB13) 1.17.42
2. Ian Duncan (Evolution 10) 1:19.20
3. Jaspreet Chatthe (Evolution 10) 1:19.59
4. Jas Mangat (Evolution 10) 1:20.53
5.Manvir Baryan (Ford Fiesta R5) 1:21.18
6. Baldev Chager (Evolution 10) 1:22.01
7. Onkar Rai (Evolution 10) 1:22.27
8.Rajbir Rai (Ford Fiesta R5) 1:22.43
9. Jasmeet Chana (Evolution 9) 1:26.24
10. Izhar Mirza (Evolution 9) 1:28.45
11. Farhaaz Khan (Evolution 9)1:32.06
12. Jonathan Somen (Ford Escort Mk2) 1:34.21
13. Eric Bengi (Toyota RunX)1:35.15
14. Jansher Sandhu 1:35.39
15. Adil MIrza (Mitsubishi) 1:36.41
16. Chandu Devji (Subaru GC8)1:40.01
17. Sammy Nyorri (Toyota Run X)1:43.33
18. Leo Varese (Toyota Corolla RSI) 1:44.29
19. Ramesh Vishram (Ford Escort Mk2) 1:44.51
20. Rehan Shan (Subaru N10) 1:45.19
21. Gurmeet Thethy (VW Golf Mk3)1:45.20
22. Natasha Tundo (Subaru Impreza N10)1:46.45
23. Imran Khan (Subaru N10) 1:49.11
24. Kimaru Boit (Evolution6) 1:56.16
25. Edward Maina (Subaru Impreza) 2:02.10
26. Dinesh Sachania (Datsun 180B) 2:13.17
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