Finland star Tapio Laukkanen navigated by compatriot Pasi Torma led from start to finish to win the opening round of the Kenya National Rally Championship in Kajiado county.
The former British and Finland rally champion achieved the feat after clinching three out of four stages around Kajiado, Il-Bissel and Parane. In the process, Laukkanen The restricted Duncan to second place with a 1.38minutes margin while reigning Kenya and Africa champion Jaspreet Chatthe completed the podium dash in a time of 1h19m 59seconds.
Duncan who is a six times Kenya champion beat Chatthe by 39seconds to secure his position in the Kenya Motor Sports Club leg. Fourth overall was former Uganda champion Jas Mangat who incidentally won the 10km Marble-Parane section.
Laukkanen's blistering pace in Kajiado stunned the motoring fraternity on the long 60km Il-Bissel-Enchoro stage and beat Duncan by 1 minute and 30 seconds!
“It was a good day with no major dramas. The car handled really well on all the stages. We attacked the second stage but didn’t expect beating Duncan by such a big margin. This is definitely a good way for us to start the season but the essence as the season progresses will be to look after our car and try to finish as many events as possible,” said Tapio said upon checking in at AIC Girls Kajiado School which hosted the finish and service park.
Driving within limits
Chatthe who was happy with his third position said: “We were driving within our limits while also trying to avoid unnecessary risks. We felt a bit rusty at the rust as we have not driven since Guru Nanak last October. But hats off to Tapio. His speeds are just out of this world. We hope to maintain our pace in the remaining seven events.”
Out of the 39 cars which started the event at the KCB Kajiado branch, only 13 failed to master the demanding conditions. Carl Tundo who drove a group S Subaru GC8 retired after CS1-Kajiado Hospital stage with a broken drive shaft.
Youngster Karan Patel retired 30 kilometers into the second stage after his clutch pack up. Menengai Cream-sponsored Issa Amwari kissed the event goodbye with drive shaft problems .
Other casualties in the rally were Hussein Malik, Aaakif Virani, Alex lairangim, McRae Kimathi, debutant Josiah Kariuki, Geoff Mayes, Pavit Kenth and Daren Miranda.
Tanzania Jamil Khan failed to honour’s much anticipated debut in Kenya after failing to show up at Kajiado start. Safari rally will be the next event over Easter holiday.
1. Tapio Laukkanen (Subaru GVB13) 1.17.42, 2. Ian Duncan (Evolution 10) 1:19.20, 3. Jaspreet Chatthe (Evolution 10) 1:19.59, 4. Jas Mangat (Evolution 10) 1:20.53, 5.Manvir Baryan (Ford Fiesta R5) 1:21.18, 6. Baldev Chager (Evolution 10) 1:22.01, 7. Onkar Rai (Evolution 10) 1:22.27, 8.Rajbir Rai (Ford Fiesta R5) 1:22.43, 9. Jasmeet Chana (Evolution 9) 1:26.24, 10. Izhar Mirza (Evolution 9) 1:28.45, 11. Farhaaz Khan (Evolution 9)1:32.06, 12. Jonathan Somen (Ford Escort Mk2) 1:34.21, 13. Eric Bengi (Toyota RunX)1:35.15, 14. Jansher Sandhu 1:35.39, 15. Adil MIrza (Mitsubishi) 1:36.41, 16. Chandu Devji (Subaru GC8)1:40.01, 17. Sammy Nyorri (Toyota Run X)1:43.33, 18. Leo Varese (Toyota Corolla RSI) 1:44.29, 19. Ramesh Vishram (Ford Escort Mk2) 1:44.51, 20. Rehan Shan (Subaru N10) 1:45.19, 21. Gurmeet Thethy (VW Golf Mk3)1:45.20, 22. Natasha Tundo (Subaru Impreza N10)1:46.45, 23. Imran Khan (Subaru N10) 1:49.11, 24. Kimaru Boit (Evolution6) 1:56.16, 25. Edward Maina (Subaru Impreza) 2:02.10, 26. Dinesh Sachania (Datsun 180B) 2:13.17.