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Newcomer John Fernandez gears up for Kenya National Rally sixth leg in Ramisi

MOTORSPORT By Ochieng Oyugi | September 14th 2021
John Fernandes and navigator Nique Rattos with their Subaru Impreza 2WD car. [Ochieng Oyugi/Standard]

Newcomer John Fernandes says the mixed fortunes he has experienced in his first two Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) events in Voi and Machakos have revealed the challenges he is facing in his rookie season.

Fernandes will be tackling his third career contest in Ramisi in South Coast this Saturday.

He will be navigated by Nique Rattos in an ex-Daren Miranda 2.5L Subaru Impreza 2WD car.

The KCB Ramisi Rally will count towards the sixth round of the KNRC after Nakuru, ARC Equator, WRC Safari, Voi and Machakos rallies.

The race to be held at the KISCOL Sugar Farm in the South Coast is organized by the Mombasa Motor Club (MMC). The rally will start and finish at KISCOL.

The event will feature a competitive mileage of 151km and a further transport road section of about 100km.

Fernandez and Rattos, who are part of Team Goa have been preparing their car at the Pac Express Workshop in Westlands, Nairobi.

“Being our first rally season, we have a lot to learn and a lot to develop on the car. So we are using it more as a period to test, try and finish as many rallies as possible rather than trying to compete at a higher level,” said Fernandes

Their Subaru Imprezza machine is also an entry level vehicle which is eligible for the Two Wheel Drive Class.

“The car is not as powerful as other vehicles. So we need to learn how to drive it better,” Fernandes said.

The duo joined the 'man and machine' sport this season after the conclusion of the iconic WRC Safari Rally.

They couldn't take part in the early two series before the Safari due to Covid-19 hitches.

“We came in and started with the Voi Rally which was long and tedious, we are glad we finished the race. It was a good experience for us. We were not able to conclude our second event in Machakos after we hit a rock,” Fernandes said.

 “Ramisi for us will be a very different experience being down at the South Coast. The essence for us will be to drive sensibly and finish in a respectable position.  It will be a lot more technical for us."

John Fernandes and navigator Nique Rattos with their Subaru Impreza 2WD car. [Ochieng Oyugi/Standard]

Rattos has sounded quite enthusiastic about Ramisi and here is what the elated navigator stated: “It’s been a steep learning curve when it comes to calling notes and we seem to be gelling better more than when we started with Voi. We are coming out strongly so far. We did not expect much from the Voi leg but, surprisingly, we finished the event."

" In the beginning I didn’t understand the notes but as time went by, I got to know them better. Everything seems to have fallen into place," he added.

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