All eyes on Ta­pio

KNRC leader fears any mis­take will gift sec­ond-placed Chatthe the ti­tle

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports -

SAM­SON ATEKA @sam­son ateka

KCB El­doret Rally this week­end is all about catch­ing ‘Fly­ing Finn’ Ta­pio Laukan­nen.

The for­mer Fin­land and Bri­tish cham­pion has set strato­spheric stan­dards in his Subaru R4 car, leav­ing lo­cal big­wigs strug­gling to match him even with their ultra modern top-of-the-range ma­chines.

Four points sep­a­rate Ta­pio and Jaspreet Chatthe, who has man­aged to post some im­pres­sive stage times over the past few sea­sons. Third­placed Ian Dun­can will also be hop­ing that ei­ther Chatthe or Ta­pio stum­ble. Dun­can, who has won the KNRC six times has had his cam­paign dis­tracted by the DNF (Did Not Fin­ish) he suf­fered in Kisumu as a re­sult of be­ing taken ill in­ci­den­tally while lead­ing the pack.

Baldev Chager and Carl Tundo al­though not do­ing too good in the cham­pi­onship, will equally not be pushovers.

Chager, who was the vic­tor in Kisumu has come to grips with his new car but be­lieves Ta­pio will be hard to catch. Chager has suf­fered two DNFs and as such lost the lead he had clung onto af­ter Sa­fari.

Chager said: “Ev­ery time any­one tries to catch up with him, he pulls away. I don’t re­ally know where his lim­its are or how much faster he can go from what he is do­ing. The good thing is that he has made us wake up. I think gen­er­ally ev­ery­body has started driv­ing faster just to get closer to Ta­pio more than any­thing else.”

The Fly­ing Finn, who has wowed crowds in his driv­ing lines, has won three of five events held so far in­clud­ing—sea­son opener Ka­ji­ado, Wun­danyi and the last round in Nanyuki—end­ing the dom­i­na­tion of Mit­subishi EVO ma­chines that had ruled the KNRC un­chal­lenged in the last three sea­sons.

Chager, who is also known as the ‘Fly­ing Singh’ be­lieves he has come to grips with the new Mit­subishi Lancer Evo­lu­tion10 R4 car, which is a Subaru GVB13-ver­sion of the Group N he has driven for more than two sea­sons.

The rally will be flagged off out­side KCB El­doret branch on Uganda Road at 7am to­day by Gover­nors Alex Tol­gos and Jack­son Mandago af­ter which cars will tackle stages near El­doret as they head to­wards Iten.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.