Varese seeks to reel in 2WD leaders Bengi, Lairangi in Eldoret
Two-wheel drive champion, Leonardo Varese, whose title defence was dealt a major blow in the previous round in Nanyuki when he retired with mechanical problems is hoping to mount a comeback in the race for the title during Saturday’s KCB Eldoret Rally.
Third-placed Varese on 65 points has all to do unseat 2WD championship leaders; Eric Bengi (100) and Alex Lairangi (95) with three rounds left of the season during the showdown in Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu counties.
The four-time 2WD champion, however, admits he is feeling the squeeze to hold on to his crown with Lairangi who won at the Safari Rally and Bengi vying for their maiden titles.
“I just want to fight for a good podium finish and if I can get a win then the better because right now we’re a bit behind in the championships after two bad races. I know they’re all after me and they’ll make it as hard as possible for me to defend the title for a third time.
“Eldoret has very hilly areas with some sections of the climbs being rocky so I know it won’t be an easy rally. I’ve had some second and third finishes so let’s wait and see if this time we can do better,” Leo told Citizen Digital.
Navigated by Kigo Kareithi, Leo enjoyed a good start to the season and led the standings after the third round in Wundanyi before everything went pear shaped.
The Clerk of Course Frank Gitau declared the routes that will be used were graded afresh while urging fans to stay clear of the dangerous zones.
“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 said.
The heart of the Rift Valley will witness the bruising battles between top drivers with Kenya National Rally Championship leader, Flying Finn Tapio Laukannen the man to beat in the main competition.
Former Kisumu, Nakuru and Uganda rallies champion, Rajbir Rai, has been seeded top while Tapio will be second off the ramp followed by African champion, Jaspreet Chatthe.
ELDORET RALLY START LIST
- Rajbir Rai/Stead Greg (Ford Fiesta),
- Tapio Laukkanen/P. Torma (Sub Impreza),
- Jaspreet Chatthe/Gurdeep Panesar (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
- Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (Mitsubishi EvolutionX)
- Ian Duncan/Slatch Amaar (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
- Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Ford Fiesta Proto)
- Onkar Rai/Garth Dawe (Mitsubishi Evo10)
- Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturock (Ford Fiesta)
- Izhar Mirza/Kavit Dave (Mitsubishi EvolutionX)
- Tejveer Rai/Zahir Shah (Mitsubishi Evolution X) 11. Amaanraj Rai/Tauseef Khan (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
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