Maxine Wahome is the LG/SJAK Sports Personality of the month of June.
The trailblazing Kenyan lady driver achieved the feat after becoming the first-ever African woman to win the WRC3 Category during the WRC Safari Rally Kenya held in June.
Wahome’s winning performance was made all the more impressive by the fact she had never driven a Ford Fiesta Rally3 car on gravel before the fabled Kenyan fixture.
What’s more, her success shot the 26-year-old to not only national limelight but global fame, with her achievements recognized by none other than seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, who shared Motorsport.com’s post celebrating the global milestone.
The year 2022 has — by and large — played out as a season of possibilities for women drivers with co-driver Isabelle Galmiche guiding legend Sebastien Loeb to the season-opening WRC Monte Carlo victory earlier this year, the last time a lady driver was part of a rally-winning overall crew.
Before Galmiche, it had been 25 years since Italian lady navigator Fabrizia Pons had done the same thing for Piero Liatti.
This time it was Wahome’s turn to make history. She reset the lengthy waiting period as the first woman behind the wheel to win an official WRC support category since Isolde Holdereid in the Group N Cup!
To win the monthly award, Maxine beat several other nominees including Rugby Driftwood 7s MVP Daniel Taabu and African 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala who timed 9.93 to win gold in the men’s 100m at the Senior Africa Athletics Championship in Reduit, Mauritius.
In winning the June award, Maxine received a personalized trophy and an LG Intelligent Washing Machine worth Sh. 85,000.
Maxine was all smiles and here is what she had to say: “It's such a great feeling to be crowned the monthly winner more so in a field where Kenya’s long and middle distance runners have reigned supreme globally.”
“My goal on Safari was just to learn the car more and day by day improve on my speed and driving lines, but I am glad I delivered the all-important win incidentally on my second appearance of the iconic event.
“Wednesday of the rally week was my first time in the car. I normally drive a Subaru Impreza N12. The only testing I got with the car was on Tarmac, which is completely different to Safari.”
Wahome’s rally very nearly unravelled on the Friday itinerary when she was sidelined by an engine control unit fault on the final test, but the youngster was able to restart on Saturday and reclaimed the top spot as her rivals came unstuck.
Wahome joins the growing list of 2022 sports personalities to win the monthly award, including tennis star Angela Okutoyi in January, Junior WRC’s McRae Kimathi in February, Japan’s Nagoya Marathon winner Ruth Chepng’etich in March, April’s Boston Marathon men’s winner Evans Chebet and national volleyball team lady star Sharon Chepchumba in May.
LG Electronics East Africa Marketing Manager Changhyun Kim congratulated Maxine for her fairy tale feat.
“LG Electronics East Africa is proud to be associated with Kenya’s talented sports personalities who continue to excel both in Kenya and overseas.”
“Maxine’s feat has inspired countless other women across the globe to approach the male-dominated sport with the much-needed resilience and gusto.”
“As a corporate entity, we are glad that this award continues to reward excellence over and above positioning juniors and women athletes as the future of sport in the country.”
On his part, SJAK President Chris Mbaisi thanked LG for their longstanding generous support towards the sporting agenda in the country.
“The award continues to ascertain latent talent in Kenyan sporting circles and indeed motivate sportsmen and women for their stellar performances.”
"Our longstanding partnership with LG Electronics is a clear indication that the Kenyan sporting area is a world of possibilities. I congratulate Maxine for her extraordinary feat. It put Kenya on the world map,” Mbaisi remarked.