Expectant Maxine Wahome ready to deliver in Arusha rally

Maxine Wahome, navigated by Murage Waigwa, in action during the WRC Safari Rally Kenya, last week. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

After triumphing in the WRC3 category at the Safari Rally in Naivasha last weekend, Lioness Rally champion Maxine Wahome now turns her focus to the African Rally Championship (ARC) series whose next leg will be held in Arusha, Tanzania, on July 22-24.

The former national motocross champion is also eyeing the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) series, whose leader is Kenyan speedster Karan Patel.

"I will be testing my new Ford Fiesta machine at the ARC. My dream is to win the continental showpiece and ultimately bag the World Rally Championship (WRC) series," Maxine said.

Maxine was speaking yesterday after being rewarded with Sh1 million by mobile network operator Safaricom, for topping the WRC3 category in the sixth leg of the 2022 WRC, the Safari Rally.

Kenya's WRC female driver Maxine Wahome is awarded SH1M by Safaricom's Chief Channels Offer Nicholas Kamunyu after sterling performance at the just concluded 2022 WRC Safari Rally. June 30, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standaard]

She is also among the FIA Rally Star drivers who will enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to the next WRC legs in Estonia (July 14-17) and Greece (September 8-11), courtesy of Safaricom. Other FIA Rally Star drivers in the trip are Hamza Anwar, Jeremy Wahome and McRae Kimathi.

Maxine clocked 5:20:21.6 in Naivasha to become the first woman to clinch the category in the WRC.

Formula 1 ace Lewis Hamilton is among big guns in the sport industry who congratulated her for the rare feat.

"I feel really honoured with this prize. It will motivate me to do better in the KNRC and ARC legs where I'm headed next," Maxine said.

Maxine added that she is excited with her history-making drive in Naivasha. She said her secret in the grueling championships was focusing on the finish line first. She hardly thought about points and classifications.

"From last season, my goal in rallying has been seeking for consistency. In the Naivasha rally, my objective was to finish the championships. In every rally, I make sure I complete the event and that progress of finishing, has helped me to learn a lot," she said.

Maxine believes her sweet victory was an encouragement to other women, who are eager to join the sport.

"It showed them that they too, can achieve their objectives in life, no matter the circumstances. I now have a voice that can encourage more women to come out and join the sport," she said.

"This sport is not that difficult. If they join, it will empower them as women. I have done motorsports since I was 10 years old. I believe one day, women will top the sport," she said.

About her new Ford Fiesta car, which world motorsports governing body FIA gave her ahead of the Safari Rally, Maxine said she is yet to fully master the road warrior.

"I didn't have enough time to test the vehicle. My goal was just to learn the car and see where it would get me during the Safari Rally. I'm happy it gave me victory in the end," she said.

"The car is completely different from the Subaru Imprezza N10 that I was so used to."


Wanzala the hero as Junior Stars scrape through into Cecafa final
Poor Harambee Starlets knocked out of Women's Africa Cup of Nations
2024 WAFCON Qualifiers: It's do or die for Kenya as Harambee Starlets face Botswana
Unique Sports
21 junior swimmers off to Mauritius