Kavisi: All we want is finish the Safari Rally

Driver Evans Kavisi (right) and navigator Absalom Aswani during the unveiling and sponsorship of two Kenya drivers ahead of the 2022 WRC Safari Rally. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenyan driver Evans Kavisi and his navigator Absalom Aswani are determined to finish the sixth leg of the 2022 World Rally Championships, the WRC Safari Rally, which will be held in Naivasha, Kenya on June 23-26.

The duo will cruise the adrenaline-filled event in a Mitsubishi Evo 10 car they have been panel-beating to shape in their Nairobi garage since February.

“We didn’t finish the rally in last year’s edition,” Kavisi told Standard Sports.

“Our focus this season is to first complete the journey, then worry about all the points, the rankings and the classifications thereafter,” he said.

“For you to win a rally, you must finish it. We hope to end this year’s competition in a respectable place,” he added.

The duo has already done three test drives in Athi River and will do two more before they descend down in Naivasha for the global contest.

Due to logistics, Kavisi has given numerous motorsport events a wide berth this season.

He has only taken part in the East African Classic Safari Rally ( EASCR) in February where he was a late entrant after he got a last-minute sponsorship from the Minti Motorsport Team.

The deal saw him link up with Safari Rally legends Ian Duncan and Anthony Neilsen who were also supported by Minti in the gruelling EASCR.

The 34-year-old father of two says he will rely on lessons learnt in the EASCR as they prepare for the Safari Rally.

“During the classic rally, we saw that preparations for a rally counts for about 80 per cent and competing is just 20 per cent,” he said.

“We also took into account that testing the machine before the game is a must. It helps a driver know the areas to fix before the race. All these are meant to take our game to the next level.”

Deep down, Kavisi knows he cannot overcome world beaters like reigning WRC champion Sebastien Ogier of Toyota Gazoo, Thierry Neuville of Hyundai or Craig Breen of M-Sport Ford, who will be jetting into the country with their high powered hybrid cars for the Safari Rally, but he is eager to learn from the best during the competition.

“Kenyan drivers can learn valuable lessons from the international drivers. I want to know their approach to rallying; from a driver’s point of view and from a mechanic’s perspective,” Kavisi said.

“The drivers coming to Kenya will give us the full picture of where the game is heading because they deal with more technology than we do. There are some areas on the route where we slow down during the contest, while the foreign drivers just zoom past them, we need to know what’s so different with their cars and ours.”

“This will definitely tell us more about their mechanics and skills,” Kavisi said.

Kavisi believes the presence of fans in the championships will boost the image of the Safari Rally across the world.

Last year, the Kenyan leg of the series was watched by over 800 million house holds across the world. Kavisi is also grateful to the sponsorship he has received from KCB Bank.

 

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