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Healthy Safari entry ahead of closing, Wednesday; locals to battle with 11 foreign cars

BY end of business on Tuesday and ahead of closing on Wednesday, there were 43 entries for this year’s Safari Rally, a round of the African Rally Champion and a test for the eagerly pursued bid for the iconic Kenya motoring event to return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) stage in 2020.

Ian Duncan, the ace last “local” to win the Safari (1994) under WRC status, was one of those entered and who will attract attention to serve fierce competition to — also entered — defending Safari Rally champion Carl “Flash” Tundo and an array of outright victory contenders; Baldev Chager, Manvir Baryan, Onkar Rai, Jasmeet Chana, Rajvir Rai and Izhar Mirza.

Top: That is Kenya’s Manvir Baryan in his Skoda Fabia easing towards a third Africa Rally Championship (ARC) title by winning last weekend’s ARC Zambia Rally. But ambush awaits him against formidable opponents at the Kenya round of ARC, the 2019 Safari Rally, a 2020 WRC Candidate event. Above: Through the Gatamaiyu Forest north of Gatundu South in Kiambu County, first competitive stage of the Safari on July 5. Photo/ANWAR SIDI

Top: That is Kenya’s Manvir Baryan in his Skoda Fabia easing towards a third Africa Rally Championship (ARC) title by winning last weekend’s ARC Zambia Rally. But ambush awaits him against formidable opponents at the Kenya round of ARC, the 2019 Safari Rally, a 2020 WRC Candidate event. Above: Through the Gatamaiyu Forest north of Gatundu South in Kiambu County, first competitive stage of the Safari on July 5. Photo/ANWAR SIDI

Seven Ugandan entries head 11 foreign, the regular Safari man and popular performer, Duncan ‘Kikankane’ Mubiru, leading the invasion from across the Western border.

Leroy Gomes comes from Zambia Giancarlo Davite from Belgium, John Lloyd from Britain and Pieiro Canobbio from Italy. There may be more last-day entries as the headquarters of the WRC Safari Rally Project at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, closes the book at 6pm (Wednesday).

It could be a muddy, sticky affair in this year’s Safari … photographer Anwar Sidi contemplates what might be in Gatamaiyu Forest, first competitive stage of this year’s event

It could be a muddy, sticky affair in this year’s Safari … photographer Anwar Sidi contemplates what might be in Gatamaiyu Forest, first competitive stage of this year’s event

Organisation of this year’s Kenyan ARC round, the Safari, hopes to meet satisfactory safety, security and competitive standards set by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) in order that the Kenyan event regains it’s WRC status last held in 2002.

A 43-car entry so far is a healthy one and accommodation of a maximum 60 is what the organisers forecast to work with next year if the Safari gets re-admission to the WRC. This would mean attracting no less than additional 12 top-notch competition cars on the current WRC teams’ roster – Hyundai, Toyota, Citroen and Ford.

Route planners map out scenic and suitable Safari Rally spectator points at “Sleeping Warrior”, above and Soysambu, below. Photos/ANWAR SIDI

Route planners map out scenic and suitable Safari Rally spectator points at “Sleeping Warrior”, above and Soysambu, below. Photos/ANWAR SIDI

Alongside the top-rated entrants with more powerful cars, the Kenya Safari traditionally holds a pull for rally enthusiasts who “root” for determined, daring individuals and Eric Bengi headlines these entrants who are not afraid to “mix it” with the top guns.

And the list also threw up another interesting entry, that of Nzioka Waita, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta’s head of (programmes) Delivery Unit. A regular entrant in Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) events back in the day, Waita has probably not rallied for over 10 years. He has entered a Mitsubishi Evolution 9.

Nzioka Waita (centre) in a past Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) event. Prospects of the Safari returning to the World Rally Championship has lured back into action President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chief of staff and head of (programmes) Delivery Unit

Nzioka Waita (centre) in a past Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) event. Prospects of the Safari returning to the World Rally Championship has lured back into action the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chief of staff and head of (programmes) Delivery Unit

2019 Safari Rally entrants (as at June 18, 2019):

1 Paras PANDYA (KEN)/ Falgun BHOJAK (KEN) – Mitsubishi  Evo X, Gp N
2 Mahesh HALAI (KEN)/ Ketan HALAI (KEN) – Subaru Impreza N, Gp N
*3 John  LLOYD (GBR)/ Adrian CAVENAGH (KEN) – Ford Escort, Gp Classic
4 Jonathan SOMEN (KEN)/ Richard HECHLE (KEN) – Ford Escort Mk II, Gp Classic
5 Edward MAINA (KEN)/ Edward NJOROGE (KEN) – Ken- Subaru Impreza N10, Gp N
6 Jasmeet CHANA (KEN)/ Ravi CHANA (KEN) –  Mitsubishi Evo X, Gp N
*7 Giancarlo DAVITE (BEL)/ Sylvia VINDEVOGEL (BUR) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Gp R4
8 Karan PATEL(KEN)/ James MWANGI (KEN) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Gp N
9 Daren MIRANDA (KEN)/ Wayne FERNANDES (KEN) – Toyota Sprinter 2wd,
*10 Kepher WALUBI (UGA)/ Anthony MUGAMBWA/ (UGA) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Gp N
*11 Ronald SSEBAGUZI (UGA)/ Leon SSENYANGE (UGA) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Gp N
12 Sohanjeet PUEE (KEN)/ Adnan DIN (KEN) – Subaru Impreza N10, Gp N
13 Geoff MAYES (KEN)/ Suzanne ZWAGER (KEN) – Land Rover Spv,
14 Onkar RAI (KEN)/ Gareth DAWE (KEN) -Skoda Fabia Rc2, Gp R5
15 Tejvir RAI (KEN)/ TBA, Mitsubishi Evo X, Rc2, R3
16 Baldev CHAGER (KEN)/ Ravi SONI (KEN)  – Mitsubishi Evo X,  Rc2-R4
17 Lovejyot KAHLON SINGH (KEN)/ Harshil LIMBANI (KEN) – Subaru Impreza N10, Gp S
*18 Leroy GOMES (ZAM)/ Urshlla Gomes (ZAM) – Ford Fiesta,  R5
19 Nikhil SACHANIA/ Deep PATEL (KEN) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Spv
20 Carl TUNDO (KEN)/ Tim JESSOP (KEN) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Rc2-R4
21 Hardev SIRA (KEN)/ TBA – Ford Escort,  Classic
*22 Yassin NASSER (UGA)/ Ali KATUMBA (UGA) – Subaru Impreza RC 2
23 Aakif VIRANI (KEN)/ Azhar BHATTI (KEN) – Subaru Impreza – Vab Spv
24 McRae KIMATHI (KEN)/ TBA – Subaru Impreza N12, Gp N
25 Minesh RATHOD (KEN) – Shameer YUSUF (KEN) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Gp N
*26 Duncan ‘Kikankane’ MUBIRU (UGA) – Musa NSUBUGA (UGA) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Gp S
27 Eric BENGI (KEN)/ Tuta MIONKI (KEN) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Gp N
28 Issa AMWARI (KEN)/ Job NJIRU (KEN) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Rc2-R4
29 Ammar HAQ (KEN)/ Victor OKUNDI (KEN) – Mitsubishi Evo X, Gp N
*30 Christakis FITIDIS (UGA)/ Veer DADAR (TAN) – Mitsubishi  Evo X,  N
*31 Godfrey NSEREKO (UGA)/ JB MUSISI (UGA) – Toyota RunX 2wd,
*32 Abdul KATETE (UGA)/ Mohammed RAHMA (UGA) – Subaru Impreza,  Rc2-R4
*33 Pieiro CANOBBIO (ITA)/ TBA – Mitsubishi Evo X, Gp N
34 Manvir BARYAN (KEN)/ Drew STURROCK (GBR) – Skoda Fabia R5, Rc2-R5
35 Moez MALIK (KEN)/ Steven NJENGA (KEN) – Subaru Impreza Vab, Gp N
36 Hussein MALIK/ TBA – Mitsubishi Evo X,  N
37 Ian DUNCAN (KEN)/ Anthony NIELSEN (KEN) – Mitsubishi Evo X N
38 Kirit RAJPUT (KEN)/ Kashif SHEIKH (KEN) –  Bmw 325i,  Classic
39 John NG’ANG’A (KEN)/ TBA – Subaru Impreza Gdb, Gp N
40 Nzioka WAITA (KEN)/ Laban CLIFF (KEN) – Mitsubishi Evo 9, Gp N
41 Adil MUGHAL (KEN)/ Hamid ZAIB – Subaru Impreza, Gp S
42 Kenn KAMAU (KEN)/ TBA – Subaru Impreza, Gp S
43 Izhar MIRZA (KEN)/ Kavit DAVE (KEN) – Mitsubishi Evo 10

*Foreign entries: UGA (7); GBR (1); BEL (1), ITA (1); ZAM (1)

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