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Shock as Most Kenyan Drivers moved to KNRC in WRC Safari Rally



NAIVASHA, Kenya, Jun 24 – Thousands of rally fans are bewildered after most of the Kenyan rally drivers failed to pass the Cut to qualify during the first day of scrutineering of the WRC Safari Rally held in Naivasha.

The drivers followed the advice they were given and a few managed to qualify to sit at the high table with the big boys while the rest survived ‘by the skin of their teeth’ and will battle it out amongst themselves in the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC).

In the official second amended WRC Safari Rally list released late on Wednesday, Andreas Mikelsen, Marco Bulacia and Teemu Suninen were amongst some of the drivers who bowed out of the rally.

KCB bank sponsored Issa Amwari navigated by Job Njiru opted out of the rally as they had the fuel required by the FIA, but did not have a cover that is put to ensure that there is no damage to the tank while rallying.

“As entry no 41 of Issa Amwari and Job Njiru, we do formally withdraw from the event and with deep regret due to certain extraneous factors. At the end of the scrutineering today, the Chief scrutineer noted that our newly fitted FIA tank does not have a cover for the coupling area. Seeing as the tank was delivered late by the airline, which had logistical issues, and this issue was pointed to us at the 11th hour at Scrutineering, it has become impossible to procure it and fulfil the technical obligation,” Njiru said in a statement.

He added, “Considering the safety measures in place and after deep reflection as a team, we find it prudent to withdraw than face the inherent risks of rallying and a fire mishap. We want to be competitive and to give our sponsors value and be part of the event’s success.

“We cannot assure this. We therefore respectfully share this position and wish you and all other participants great success at this amazing event. We will support from another angle of the event.”

Uganda’s Ronald Ssebuguzi, Duncan Mubiru, Walubi Kepher and Yasin Nasser joined their Kenyan compatriots who were put in the KNRC 4 championship.

Safaricom Sponsored Hamza Anwar, McRae Kimathi, Jeremy Wahome, Passed scrutineering with flying colors.

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Onkar Rai, Carl Tundo, Tejveer Rai, Aakif Virani will compete in the P3 Category while Baldev Chager, Eric Bengi, Jasmeet Chana, Dilraj Chatte, Pras Pandya and Pietro Cannobio are amongst the few Kenyan drivers who are compete in the KNRC championship.

The beauty of it all is that the drivers will get the chance to drive round the same tracks and sections albeit not competing now the same category.

The changes will also see Martin Prokop get Zdenek Jurka as his new navigator while McRae Kimathi will get Mwangi Kioni as his navigator ahead of today’s action at Kasarani.

Amanraj Singh Rai will drive a Skoda Fabia Evo.

After an interesting Shakedown on Wednesday where the international drivers got a taste of rallying Kenyan style, the action shifts to KICC for the official flag off and proceed to Kasarani for the Super Special stage.

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Kenyan Digest