Fast-rising driver records career best second position in Eldoret
Fast-rising drivers Manvir Baryan and Alex Lairang’i were among the star attractions in Eldoret Rally over the weekend as the sixth round of the KCB Kenya National Rally Championship culminated in Elgeyo Marakwet county.
Manvir was all smiles after posting his career best second position in the Eldoret show. But the MRT Racing driver admitted his flamboyance in the round didn’t come as a surprise to the team considering he pushed his Ford Fiesta R4 super car closer to his limits.
The Nairobi-based youngster nevertheless conceded that his teammate and lead driver Tapio Laukannen was out of this world given his blistering pace in the season.
Tapio expended his lead on the KNRC log with 25 points over Jaspreet Chatthe, who was time-barred after he stopped to change a punctured tyre in the fourth stage.
Manvir led the rally after the first loop when Tapio ran into mechanical gremlins but clung to second place the moment the ‘Flying Finn’ staged a scintillating comeback.
“This went down as our best ever result in the last three years we have competed in the KNRC. It didn’t come as a surprise though as we were really pushing. Luckily, some bigwigs fell by the wayside but our performance in Eldoret has inspired us to continue pushing for better times and positions. We set two fastest stage times which was all good, considering how far we’ve come in the sport,” said Manvir.
Lairangi was equally enthusiastic but somewhat flabbergasted with his victory in the 2WD.
Lairangi checked into last serving at Chemweno Farm not knowing he had won the rally. His calm and assured march to the 2WD podium belied the excitement that was bubbling underneath but at exactly 5.30pm on Saturday it exploded on a solid stream of joy at KCB Iten branch which hosted the podium finish.
Lairang’i said: “The roads were very nice. Unlike previous events which saw us struggle with mechanical problems, this time round the car ran trouble-free and had no mechanical issues whatsoever, so I decided to push to the max and enjoy. We were indeed surprised to realise that we we’re the winners in our category at the end of the day. All thanks and praise to almighty God.”
Lairangi finished first in Safari Rally in Elementaita and returned the ex Dennis Mwenda Toyota Sprinter GT in podiums in Wundanyi, Nanyuki, Kajiado and Kisumu.
Varese finished third in 2WD, behind leader Eric Bengi. “I’m happy to have finished third in Eldoret after the last two retirements. This feels very good. We went there to enjoy ourselves as the championship was lost in the last rally.”
Manvir Baryan (R) and his British navigator Drew Sturrock pose with Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos (L) during Eldoret rally podium celebrations in Iten.