Bengi savors Lairangi pressure ahead of Guru Nanak rally
The showdown between Alex Lairangi and Eric Bengi will be the ultimate battle when the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) curtains come down this weekend during the Guru Nanak rally in Naivasha.
Bengi leads the race between the two aces in a close contest that has seen the 2 Wheel Drive (2WD) category championship decider go down to the wire.
It is a situation Bengi, who drives a Toyota Runx, believes has added more flair to the KNRC season as well as pushing him to limit.
“This season has really been tough because the races have been harder, and also the level of competition has gone a step higher. Lairangi has really challenged and this has made the championship better and interesting,” Bengi told Citizen Digital.
Lairangi who drives a Toyota Sprinter GT has set his eyes firmly on the prize saying he is not terrified of the man who mentored his early racing career although he wary of the 13-point gap between them.
“He’s been my mentor from when I started racing, he is the reason I am here now. But it’s the title on the line, and for that reason I will unleash all my weapons to ensure I defeat him,” Lairangi underscores.
Amid the ongoing rains that have added a challenging twist to the competition, the two drivers reckon the weather has only served as an added advantage having been acquainted with the generally rainy weather at the Meru region where they both hail from.
However, a change in tact has had to come into play for both drivers in their bids to manage their successful navigation through the harsh conditions
“I have adopted a slower strategy, and focusing on the championship points, instead of risking the possibility of crashing out, which can cost me the championship”. He explains to Citizen Digital.
Bengi only needs to finish in the top six places for him to be crowned the champion, while Lairangi will need to finish first, and hope that Bengi clocks outside the top six or crash out of the race altogether for him to stand a chance of winning the coveted prize.
Meanwhile in the 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) category the already crowned champion Tapio Laukannen will be aiming for a strong finish to a season he has hardly been rivaled. The rally will be held on volcanic ash terrain in Soysambu Conservancy and Naivasha’s Aberdare Hills Golf Resort which has been designated as the spectator viewing point.
Six-time winner of the Guru Nanak editon Ian Duncan will be looking to maintain the good run in the edition, while other elite drivers from the country, including Jaspreet Chatte, Carl “flash” Tundo and Baldev Chager will be battling for top podium places in the season finale.
Entry List-KCB Guru Nanak Rally
- Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Triumph)
- Rajbir Rai/Greg Stead (Ford Fiesta R5)
- Tapio Laukkanen/Gavin Laurence (Subaru GVB13)
- Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (Evolution 10)
- Jassi Chatthe/Gugu Panesar (Evolution 10)
- Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (Evolution 10)
- Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturrock (Ford Fiesta R5)
- Karan Patel/Shameer Yusuf (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
- Onkar Singh Rai/ Gareth Dawe (Mitsubishi Evolution 19)
- Tejveer Rai/Zahir Shah (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
- Piero Cannobia/Sylvia Frigo (Evolution 10)
- Jasmeet Chana/Ravinder Chana (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
- Amaanraj Rai/Tauseef Khan (Mitsubishi Evolution10)
- Farhaaz Khan/ Keith Henrie (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
- Dennis Mwenda/Job Njiru (Mitsubishi Evolution9)
- Asad Khan/Harshil Limbani (Subaru Impreza GC8)
- Mahesh Halai/Ketan Halai (Subaru N12)
- John Nganga/ Edward Njoroge (Subaru)
- Eric Bengi/Tuta Mionki (Toyota RunX)
- Tash Tundo/Chantal Louis Young (Subaru N10)
- Chandrakhant Devji/Julius Mwachuya (Subaru GC8)
- Sammy Nyorri/Mwangi Waithaka (Toyota RunX)
- Leonardo Varese/Kigo Kareithi (Toyota Corolla RSI)
- Alex Lairangi/Tony Gichohi (Toyota Sprinter GT)
- Hapz Sagoo/Paren Hirani (Subaru N10)
- Ammar Haq/Victor Okundi (Subaru)
- Edward Maina/John Nganga (Subaru)
- Osman Abdullahi/George Mwangi (Subaru N10)
- Ramesh Vishram/Riyaz Ismail (Ford Escort MK2)
- Geoff Mayes/Jamie Mactavish (Landover Discovery)
- Sam Karangatha/Edwartd Ndukui (Subaru Leon)
- Virdee D. Singh/Riaz Waqqas (Subaru Leon)
- Minesh Rathod/Norris Ongalo (Evolution X)
- Rajwinder Jutley/Andreas Kidane (Ford Escort Mk2)
- Eugene Ngigi/Steve Mbuthia (Subaru)
- Aakif Virani/Adnan Din (Subaru N16)
- Izhar Mirza/Kavit Dave (Mitsubishi Evolution 9)
- Daren Miranda/Wayne Fenerndes (Subaru GC3)
- Gurjit Singh Dhani/Manmeet Singh (Subaru GVB15-TZ)
- Rajpal Singh Dhani/Sinder Suddle (Subaru GVB 15-TZ)
- Ajminder Singh Dhani/Absalom Aswani (Subaru N10-TZ)
- Ronald Sebuguzi/ Leon Senyange (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 -UG)
- Jansher Sandhu/Faisal Khan (Mitsubishi Evolution 9)
-Report by Alex Kinyua.