Man­vir sparkles

Fast-ris­ing driver records ca­reer best sec­ond po­si­tion in El­doret

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports - SAMSON ATEKA @samson ateka

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.”

/SAMSON ATEKA

Man­vir Baryan (R) and his Bri­tish nav­i­ga­tor Drew Stur­rock pose with El­geyo Marak­wet Gov­er­nor Alex Tol­gos (L) dur­ing El­doret rally podium cel­e­bra­tions in Iten.

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