Tapio hands Subaru Wundanyi Rally victory


Finn Tapio Laukannen in action at the KCB Kajiado Rally on Saturday, February 27, 2016. PHOTO/Attex ...
Finn Tapio Laukannen in action at the KCB Kajiado Rally on Saturday, February 27, 2016. PHOTO/Attex Sport

Flying Finn Tapio Laukannen handed Subaru a second victory of the 2016 Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) season after taking the KCB Wundanyi Rally honours in Taita Taveta County.

The much advertised ‘beast’ of former national champion Carl Tundo that was making its debut and the other Ford Focus in the running of Manvir Baryan caught fire but the crew emerged unscathed.

Tapio, navigated by compatriot Passi Torma raced his Subaru Impreza GVB 13 to his second victory of 2016 following the opening round in Kajiado to snap the dominance of the Mitsubishi Evolutions.

KNRC champion, Jaspreet Chatthe with Gugu Panesar brought the first Evo X home with the legendary 1994 Safari Rally winner, Ian Duncan with Andy Doig alongside, finished third in a similar car.

The Taita region that was a mainstay of the Safari Rally when it was part of the World Rally Championships calender in the 1980s witnessed a dramatic event that brought the season to the half way point.

Top dogs including 2014 national champion, Baldev Chager who crashed his car and Rajbir Rai also endured the nightmare of exiting the competition in the tough route.

Chager retired in the opening  stage in Kishushe when his Evo 10 went off the road and landed in a ditch.

Farhaaz Khan retired on Maungu Long stage after he took a jump too fast and left his exhaust in shreds.

“We later realised that the exhaust was too close to the fuel tank and based on safety, we decided to call it a day,” the driver rued.

Tundo who was parading the monstrosity he recently acquired for the first time and Baryan went out in flames.

Reports indicate their vehicles collected plenty of dry grass underneath that was ignited by hot part of the engines.

Izhar Mirza was also out with an electrical problem on the first competitive stage with results of the second cancelled after a technical glitch.

Defending 2WD champion Edward Maina retired in first service at Mwatate with a leaking gearbox.

Alex Lairang’i checked into first service after losing the intercom as well as first and second gears.

“We have actually struggled in the opening loop with multiple probs and had to resort to sign language,” said his navigator Tonny Gichohi.

Duncan led 34 cars to start from KCB Wundanyi Branch with Taita Taveta Governer, John Mruttu staying until the last vehicle had left the ramp.

Top three provisional results

1. Tapio Laukkanen /Pasi Torma (Subaru Impreza) 119.50mins,
2. Jaspreet Chatthe /Gurdeep Panesar (Mitsubishi Evolution10) 126.35, 3. Ian Duncan/ Andrew Doig (Mitsubishi Evolution10) 126.45.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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