Tapio bags title
Laukkanen becomes new KNRC champion after Team Kibos withdraw protest
Tapio Laukkanen has finally been declared Kenya National Rally Championship title winner after Team Kibos’ duo of Jaspreet Chatthe and Gugu Panesar withdrew their earlier protest and appeal.
The matter had been referred to the Kenya Motor Sports Federation appeals court after protest and counter protest by Chatthe and Tapio respectively. “We refer to our protest lodged yesterday (Sunday) against car No. 2 and the subsequent appeal. In the interest of harmony and competitor relations, we have reconsidered our position and herewith officially withdrew our protest and appeal. We feel that harmony will play a bigger role in the sport than ‘Championship’ and towards a better spirit of competition. We congratulate Tapio Laukkanen and the entire MRT Racing team for winning the KNRC 2016 drivers championship. Best regards and wishes from Team Kibos,” read the statement.
Tapio, who had sealed the KNRC title at penultimate stage after finishing fourth behind winner Rajbir Rai, Manvir Baryan and Jaspreet Chatthe had to cool his heals pending the verdict of the two protests.
Tapio’s championship celebrations were put on hold on Sunday when Chatthe lodged a protest against what he termed an illegal airflow box on Tapio’s Subaru GVB13 R4 car. But Tapio counter protested against Chatthe being towed out of the last stage by one of the rally drivers after his car had stalled.
Meanwhile, Tash Tundo and Chantal Louise Young have savoured KNRC Division 3 championship honours after a consistent drive. The Hai Rally Chix entered their names in the annals of rallying history as the first ever all-female crew to lay their hands on the Division 3 diadem.
“I am so happy about it and I’m proud of the whole team. I think we have been so consistent this season and Chantal and I have got a partnership going now,” said Tash.
The Hai Rally Chix had their campaign effectively sewn up when his closest challenger Osman Abdullahi retired. “We retired 8km from end of rally when the front right wheel studs sheered and the tyre was recovered some 300 meters away in the bush,” said Osman.
Tapio Laukkanen gives during a recent interview in Meru just before flag off “We congratulate Tapio Laukkanen and the entire MRT Racing team for winning the KNRC 2016 drivers championship. Best regards and wishes.”