Division 3 and Two Wheel Drive top contender Leonardo Varese is looking forward to the upcoming second half of the 2022 Kenya National Rally Championship season with great expectations.
Varese maintained his lead on both classes on returning his Toyota Auris 2WD to a credible sixth overall position during the weekend’s Eldoret Rally 2022.
The event was organized by East African American Rally and sponsored by Kenya Breweries through its White Cap brand, towards the fourth round of the KNRC.
“The team did a really good job in Eldoret. It’s surely more than what we were expecting. I’m grateful to everyone in the team and our sponsors SportPesa for a great outing in The Home of Champions as well as organising team from East African Safari Rally for great routes and scenery up the Cherangani Hills.”
“We managed to bring back our Two Wheel Drive Toyota Auris 1600cc to a credible 6th overall position and most importantly, kept our 100% finish record intact.”
Varese reveals that he really was cleverer with limited tyre choice on the tarmac speed test in Chebai. The KNRC is traditionally an all-gravel Championship, but organizers deviated from the norm to offer crews something exciting and unique.
“The tarmac stage was good, but our brakes kind of heated up a little bit. But it’s always great to experience something new for a change.Overall, everything ran well like clockwork, and we got a little rain up the Cherangani but just enough to give us the much-needed traction, so it was real fun on our descents and ascents.’
Varese is nevertheless grateful to the ‘rally gods’ for keeping his 100% finish record intact.
Varese: “We have extended our lead in Division 3 and cemented our Two-Wheel championship but we’ll need to attain the 75% entry threshold to be declared the champions.”
–Classic Car Class–
Sam Karangatha emerged the Classic Car Class winner in a career best fifth overall position; incidentally on his very first outing behind the wheel of a Minti Motorsport Datsun 180B.
Karangatha: “It was a dream come true to be back in a rally car. The rally went smoothly, with awesome routes and great organisation.”
“The goal was to get it to the finish as we learn the car. I’m very happy with achieving our best KNRC result of 5th overall. A big thank you to Minti Motorsport giving us the opportunity to drive, and to the whole team for keeping the car working well. Steve Nyorr did a fantastic job navigating with me for the first time.”
Meanwhile, Group N leader Jasmeet Chana reckons that the tarmac stage in Eldoret was a great experience and a far cry from what most drivers are used to on gravel.
The longtime leader returned second overall after he lost the battle to eventual winner Karan Patel at penultimate stage.
Chana explained: “I think because of the temperatures and high altitude, we struggled to climb.up the hills in the afternoon. We didn’t have as much boost as we tried to push. So it came to a point where the car was overheating, and we let go of the top position.”
“We were in the lead most of the day and lost it at the penultimate stage. We had small issues with low boost and Karan kept on biting into our time!! But all in all, lovely roads in the iconic Cherangani Hills and a great battle with Karan K Patel .”
“The roads were open but all managed properly. Stage 1 was very fast. Stage 2 at Chebai, very different, I mean as Kenyans we are not used to driving on tarmac. So, it was a steep learning curve for us all but very interesting. Stage 3 was quick towards the beginning and the ending became a bit difficult.”
Caption -Leonardo Varese during the finish of Eldoret Rally 2022.