It is all systems go as the 63rd KCB Safari Rally 2015 preparations get to the homestretch. The rally which will be flagged-off at the KICC grounds on Easter Friday will see a host of drivers fight for bragging rights during the three day event that will criss-cross Nairobi, Machakos and Meru Counties.
Of interest to note is that this year’s edition of KCB Safari Rally has reverted back to its traditional Easter holidays date, rekindling the nostalgic memories of household names like Joginder Singh, Shekhar Mehta and Vic Preston Jnr. Who heightened the pulse-rate of countless fans countrywide during their heydays. There’s a fabulous fight in prospect in the newly introduced Premier Class with Finland ace and Kisumu Rally winner Tapio Laukkanen ready to rumble against Kenya’s racing legends Baldev Chager, Ian Duncan and Carl Tundo.
Speaking during the official launch of this year’s KCB Safari Rally at a Nairobi Hotel, KCB Director of Logistics Mr. James Asiko said that KCB Group is proud to sponsor this year’s championships.
“As KCB Group, we leverage on the various sports disciplines in order to grow our portfolio. We find fulfillment when we see new talent being nurtured across the country while at the same time engage our customers and rally enthusiasts who always look out for something to enjoy especially when we go out to the grassroots level to thrill them”, he quipped.
The 2015 KCB Safari Rally will see defending KNRC champion Baldev Chager fight to beat all the odds while Carl “Flash” Tundo will be pushing his Proton Neo Satria S2000 to equal Shekhar Mehta’s unprecedented five wins.
Shekhar Mehta who won his five events when Safari counted towards the World Rally Championship (WRC) will be giving Flash, who won four Safaris when it counted towards the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) a run for his money. This year the Safari will not be a round the ARC but a normal KNRC spectacle designed to restore the memories of Easter weekends.
Tapio Laukkanen, the winner of the KCB Kisumu Rally two weeks ago, will drive a Subaru Impreza GVB13 under the MRT Racing banner. The GVB13 is an R4 car which appears to have restored hopes of Subaru lovers at a time when the Japanese make was perceived to play second fiddle to the Evolutions.
Former Pirelli star driver Raaji Bharij and his team-mates, Alex Lairang’I and Athman bros, are the three drivers Delights Rally Team hope to use in making their impression felt in KNRC. Raaji belongs to the senior-most Premier league of drivers and cannot be taken lightly in the tussle for the coveted crown if his previous podium finishes are anything to go by.
Also in the race is team Kibos’ Jaspreet Singh Chatthe “Jassi” and two Ford Fiesta R5 cars of MRT’s Manvir Baryan and Kenya’s new kid on the block Rajbir Rai, who has switched from EvoX in 2014. Veteran rally driver, Azar Anwar will also take part in the 2015 KCB Safari Rally contrary to rumors of his retirement from the sport.
Onkar Rai and his elder sibling Tejveer are the two young men from Kabras Racing team which is running two EvoX cars.
There are also two Toyota RunX 2WD rally cars for Sammy Nyorri and Eric Bengi who will want to make their impression felt up against champ Leonardo Varese and Gurmit Thethy. Leo has never won the Safari despite having won three KNRC Championships. Bengi is no doubt the fastest 2WD competitor in Kenya at the moment currently going for back to back Safari titles. Nyorri who is this season running on Proflex suspensions achieved his maiden 2WD victory in Kisumu and leads the 2WD log.
Alex Lairang’I, who retired in Kisumu, is currently driving the ex-Dennis Mwenda Toyota Sprinter GT which incidentally was his bridal car back in 2012. Classic car class category has attracted veteran drivers, including in-form Jonathan Somen and Aslam Kham, both of whom will drive Ford Escort MK2 and Porsche Carrera 911 cars respectively.
Mombasa’s Izhar Mirza will be going for the jugular in division 1 which he leads currently at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9. There is also a reasonable entry of S class cars which includes Hussein Malik, Chandrakhant Chhavhadia Devji alias Chandu and Nadeem Kana.
This year, KCB Group has sponsored the Kenya National Rally Championships to the tune of Kshs. 45 Million that will go towards the organization of this year’s seven KNRC legs and the 63rd KCB Safari Rally. The Bank continues to be committed to the sport to create brand awareness in the new markets that it ventures into.
About KCB Bank Group
KCB Bank Group is East Africa’s largest commercial Bank that was established in 1896 in Kenya. Over the years, the Bank has grown and spread its wings into Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi completing the East African circuit in the year 2012. Today KCB Bank Group has the largest branch network in the Region of 236 branches, 950 ATMs and 8,000 agents offering banking services on a 24/7 basis in East Africa. This is complemented by mobile banking and internet banking services with a 24hour contact centre services for our customers to get in touch with the Bank. The Bank has a wide network of correspondent relationships totaling over 200 banks across the globe and our customers are assured of a seamless facilitation of their international trade requirements wherever they are.