Ta­pio bags ti­tle

Laukka­nen be­comes new KNRC cham­pion af­ter Team Ki­bos with­draw protest

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

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.

/FILE -TEAM KI­BOS

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.”

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