Rajbir Rai, son of the legendary two times Kenya Champion Sarbi Rai, registered his maiden career Kenya National Rally Championship victory following brilliant displays in the Coast yesterday.
Rajbir, who was voted the most improved rally driver at last weekend’s Kenya Motosports Federation Annual Awards, drove his Mitsubishi EVOX machine to victory in KCB Malindi Rally brimming with confidence.
Navigated by Tim Challen, Rajbir drove aggressively in the second half of the event.
Rajbir clocked 2:02.22 hours followed by Jassi Chatthe on 2:07.58 while Manvir Baryan sealed the podium dash in 2:09.54 hours.
Rajbir had his campaign effectively sewn up when Tundo and Chager lost time in CS5 after stopping for safety reasons.
The biggest casualty of the day was Ian Duncan who retired on the 37km CS4 Dida stage with a broken front left suspension arm.
Carl Tundo opened a 10 seconds lead from Chager after the first four stages but not until the CS5 incident which saw them dip further below the leader-board.
Tundo was later disqualified for stopping his car on CS5.
According to KMSF steward John Kamau, Tundo stopped his Mitsubsihsi EVO9 at CS5 citing safety traffic concerns.
Kamau said Tundo subsequently waved down Chager who stopped at the same location but only for the rest of the crews to proceed with the stage.
The leading drivers thereafter appealed to organisers to cancel CS5 which stewards declined thus disqualifying Tundo for what they termed “unsportsman behaviour”.
Kamau, in reference to the national competition rules said: “Competitors are not allowed to stop the running of an event by blocking the route or rescheduling the event without the express permission of the clerk of the course via the Control officials. Penalty for this clause is exclusion.”
The rally saw some drivers fail to master the 395km course.
Issa Amwari and his partner job Njiru retired with turbo problems and had their 2014 KNRC campaign stymied at an early stage.
There was quite a bit of excitement for the crowds at the spectator stage in Mlaindi town.
Don Smith and Bob Kaugi got well from the time control but was stuck in the dust. Eventually, they had to be pulled out by the course car.
Other casualties were Dennis Mwenda, Leo Varese, Sudesh Hirani and Imran Mogul.
The Malindi based father and son crew of Kantilal and Milan Kukadia were ythe early casualties after rolling at CS1.
Khalid Yusuf (Toyota Levin) also developed fever in the cockpit and had to kiss the event goodbye at CS4.
KNRC PROVISIONAL RESULTS
1. Rajbir Rai 2:02.22;
2. Jassi Chatthe 2:07.58;
3. Manvir Baryan 2:09.54
Source: Standard Digital News