KMSF in no rush to seek rally title sponsor


Flying Finn Tapio Laukkanen in action in a past rally. PHOTO/Courtesy
Flying Finn Tapio Laukkanen in action in a past rally. PHOTO/Courtesy

The Kenya Motorsports Federation (KMSF) is in no rush to find a new title sponsor for the Kenya National Rally Championship and its Safari Rally flagship following the exit of Kenya Commercial Bank Group in July this year.

Speaking during the launch of the sixth round of the Eldoret Rally which is the sixth round of the 2016 KNRC set for October 8, federation General Manager, Maina Njuguna maintained they will benefit from the new arrangement where KCB will act as the official banking partner.

“They want to support other motorsport disciplines we have such as motocross, autocross, cross country and karting. We will make an announcement of who takes up from KCB,” Njuguna told Citizen Digital.

KCB Marketing and Communications Director, Angela Mwirigi, explained that their new focus would be to enhance the growth of the other events on the KMSF calendar.

Over 40 drivers are expected to battle in Eldoret in a rally that will stretch to Moiben, Elgeyo Marakwet County for the final stages with the prize giving in Iten.

Former Finland and British Rally Champion, Tapio Laukannen is expected back in the country and will be looking to continue his charge for the domestic title after leading Nanyuki Rally from start to finish in August.

Champion Jaspreet Singh Chatthe, Ian Duncan, Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo, Baldev Chager and Onka Rai slot in as the main challengers to the Flying Finn with Ugandan duo; Hassan Alwi and Duncan Mubiru are also expected to feature.

“It’s a superb terrain and although we have always predicted who wins the championships basing on the Eldoret results, it’s tighter than we’ve seen now. Tapio Laukannen leads champion Jaspreet Chatthe by only four points so it’s a difficult call to make,” Njuguna asserted.

The battle in the 2WD category is also set to heat up after Sammy Nyori upgraded his Toyota RunX ahead of the outing. Nyori will be competing against leader Erick Bengi and Leonardo Varese as all the drivers focus on racking up major points before the season comes to a close.

“We are working round the clock to get my car ready in time. The Eldoret terrain is rough and so we expect the competition will be tough; it will not be an easy rally. We hear it rains a lot so if that happens it will be even tougher.

“I’m looking forward to the event and hope I can get a win. We’re a bit behind after having two bad races. It’s very difficult to defend the title for two years and it’s even harder for me since I’ve never won in Eldoret,” four-time 2WD champion, Varese who was present during the launch stated.

According to the Clerk of Course Frank Gitau, the routes that will be used have been graded afresh and offer a tough challenge for the drivers as they crisscross the two counties (Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu).

“It will be more exciting and competitive for the drivers. We have set up safe media points to ensure the rally is well covered and free of any accidents,” Gitau added.

Hundreds of spectators are also expected to gather at the ceremonial start venue to wave off competitors outside the KCB Eldoret Branch as well as at the spectator stage at Chemweno.

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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