State-of-the-art technology comes to town ahead of Equator Rally
Competitors believe the healthy entry of R5 cars on the forthcoming FIA ARC Equator Rally is a sign of better things to come.
KNRC Division 1 Navigators Champion Victor Okundi reckons: “It goes to show how much the continent has grown in the sport! Guys have invested a lot of resources in the machinery they’re driving suggesting how much confidence they have in their driving and preparation.”
A total of seven R5s will feature in the Equator event making it the highest number of this type of machinery on Kenyan soil.
Equator Rally, which has been defunct for more than 15 years, will serve as a doubleheader of the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) and KCB Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) on the weekend of April 24-25
The event will also act as a dry run for WRC Safari Rally Kenya which returns to the global arena after a 19-year hiatus.
Safari, which previously served as the Kenyan round of the ARC, will be returning to the global FIA schedule from June 24-27.
Outgoing KNRC 2WD Champion Wayne Fernandes believes the good R5 entry is a clear indication that teams are upping their ante well in time.
“The bar has been raised. it’s definitely going to be an interesting thing to see how the R5s fair against local knowledge, then of course our boys against the outsiders. It’s nice that we’ll get to use the WRC route as we envisage the pace and glamour of a global event and with the R5’s out there. What I’ve noted in the past is the route always has something new, thanks to our weather here in Kenya. It’s always got something different along the way- be it a new mudhole, or a tree stump at a hairpin .. so yeah.. I’m sure between ARC and WRC something will be additional along the way,” Fernandez said.
Kabras Sugar Racing siblings Tejveer and his younger brother Onkar are expected to ruffle feathers behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo R5.
Also in the R5 mix is Kenyan rising star Karan Patel who will be piloting a Ford Fiesta R5.
Amaanraj Rai who previously raced in Kenya has entered the event with a Ugandan license and will be navigated by Oslaj Viljem of Slovenia In a Ford Fiesta R5.
Britain’s Pratul Ghose with his UK-based Kenyan co-driver Imran Khan have entered a Minti Motorsport Volkswagen Polo R5.
All Kenyan crew of Aakif Virani and Azhar Bhatti will be driving an ex- Manvir Baryan Skoda Fabia R5 and indeed in the Arrow Rally Team livery.
South Africans Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle have entered a Toyota Etios R5.
In international rallying, R5 refers to a class of cars competing under Group R regulations. R5 cars are a step down from World Rally Cars in their power and performance. They are eligible to compete in the World Rally Championship and in a dedicated series known as the World Rally Championship-2 and 3. WRC2 is the championship’s primary support category and the principal feeder for ambitious competitors targeting the final step to a World Rally Car drive. The category is for manufacturer-backed teams and independent teams approved by the FIA.
WRC3 category features cars that comply with exactly the same technical regulations as WRC2 but is designed for privateer drivers only.
Meanwhile, Safari Clerk of the Course Gurvir Bhabra has highlighted an exciting range of events in the run up to Equator Rally.
The event will offer various Safari officials including Stage Commanders, their Deputies, Set Up Crew, and among others Assistant Clerks of Course an opportunity to savour a real WRC scenario.
Gurvir confirmed that the revived Equator event will use six stages from the WRC Safari route. The six are Elementaita, Soysambu, Sleeping Warrior, Loldia, Malewa, and Sleeping Warrior.
WRC Safari stages omitted from Equator itinerary are Kasarani Super Special Stage (SSS), Oserian and Hell’s Gate (Wolf Power Stage).
The next FIA ARC event after Equator will be Rally of Tanzania on the weekend of July 24-25 followed by Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally on August 21-22, Zambia International Motor Rally on September 25-26, and Rally of South Africa on November 6-7.
2021 FIA ARC EQUATOR RALLY
ROUND 3-ENTRY LIST-23rd ( 25th APRIL 2021)
1 Eric Bengi -Peter Mutuma -KEN Mitsubishi Evolution 10
2 Tejveer Rai -Gareth Dawe
3 Ian Duncan -Tej Sehmi
KEN -Nissan 240RS -Classic
4 Carl Tundo -Tim Jessop
KEN -Mitsubishi Evolution 10
5 Onkar Rai -Drew Sturrock P KEN
UK Volkswagen Polo -R5
6 Baldev Chager -Ravi Soni KEN – Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-R4
7 Karan Patel -Tauseef Khan
KEN-Ford Fiesta -R5
8 Jasmeet Chana -Ravi Chana – Mitsubishi Evolution 10
9 Issa Amwari-Job Njiru
KEN Mitsubishi Evolution 10
10 Amaanraj Rai -Oslaj Viljem -UG –
SLOV- Ford Fiesta R5
11 Giancarlo Davite -Sylvia Vindevogel RWA- Mitsubishi Evolution 10
12 Pratul Ghose -Imran Khan UK-
13 Rajiv Ruparelia -Enoch Olinga F UG -Volkswagen Polo/Proto
14 Yasin Nasser -Ali Katumba F UG
15 Duncan Mubiru -Musa Nsubuga
UG Subaru Impreza
16 Kepher Walubi -Muhamadi Asuman UG Mitsubishi Evolution 10
17 John Ng’ang’a -Edward Ndukui 1 KEN – Subaru Impreza
18 Nikhil Sachania -Deep Patel – KEN – Mitsubishi Evolution 10
19.Aakif Virani -Azhar Bhatti -KEN -Skoda Fabia R5
20 Piero Canobbio -TBA -KEN – Mitsubishi Evolution 10
21 Hassan Alwi -James Mwangi-UG -KEN -Subaru Impreza
22 Mcrae Kimathi -Shameer Yusuf 1 KEN – Subaru Impreza
23 Steve Mwangi -Dennis Mwenda -KEN- Subaru Impreza
24 Guy Botterill -Simon Vacy-Lyle -RSA- Toyota Etios RC2-R5
25 Christakis Fitidis -Eric Nzamwita – UG RWA- Mitsubishi Evolution 10
26 Hussein Malik -Linet Ayuko- Mitsubishi Evolution 10
27 Evans Kavisi -Absolom Aswani 2 KEN – Mitsubishi Evolution 10
28 Ronald Sebuguzi -Anthony Mugambwa UG – Mitsubishi Evolution 10
29 Jonathan Somen -Richard Hechle -KEN -Ford Escort MK2 Classic
30 Kailesh Chauhan -Tariq Malik 2 KEN – Ford Escort RS -Classic
31 Edward Maina -John Ngugi 1 KEN – Subaru Impreza
32 Nzioka Waita -Tuta Mionki -KEN -Mitsubishi Evolution 10
33 Daren Miranda -Wayne Fernandes -KEN- Subaru Impreza RC2
34 Geoff Mayes -Suzanne Zwager -KEN – Landrover Tomcat
35 Hamza Anwar -Riyaz Ismail 2 KEN -Subaru Impreza