Rally driver Sheghu excited to ride against the tough big boys

Pauline Sheghu navigated by Mitchelle Chao in last year's Lioness Rally at Kasarani. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The government has supported four women crew who are rearing to go in the seventh leg of the World Rally Championship (WRC), the Safari Rally, which begins on Thursday in Naivasha.

One of the women drivers is media personality Pauline Sheghu, who will forage for glory in a Subaru N10.

It will be the first time the celebrated news anchor will be taking part in the global showpiece and she can't keep calm.

Sheghu has teamed up with her long-term navigator Linet Ayuko, who will call out her pace notes.

"We are ready for the event, both in mind body and spirit. We will be out to raise the Kenyan flag high," she told Standard Sports.

Sheghu spend the whole of Sunday in the tough terrains of Gilgil to test drive the car.

"The venue we are holding the test drive is more or less the same as the rally tracks in Naivasha where the WRC Safari Rally will be held," she said.

Safari Rally driver Pauline Shegu gearsup ready for the 2023 WRC. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

When asked what's her target in the WRC event, Sheghu said her aim is to finish the championship. "Bringing the car home in one piece is our target, we just want to finish safe," she said.

"Rally is all about finishing, whether you are first or last. Just keep safe, keep to your time. We are hoping for the best, we are praying and trusting that all shall be well," said Sheghu, who is already excited that she will be on the same track with the big boys of the game during the contest.

Shegu will use the championship to build up points for the Kenya National Rally Championship where she has been taking part in various motorsports categories.

And what does taking part in the WRC really mean to her?

"Women have been there for a long time but have never been supported by the previous governments to take part in the rally. This, actually is the first help by the state for women to compete in the global showpiece. I'm grateful to have been given the chance, this is a big boost to motorsports," she said.

Sheghu believes her participation in the WRC will inspire more women to join the sport and take up the challenge to compete in the event in the future.

"I'm just trying to make a change in my own small ways, it will be exciting to see the women drivers take on the big boys of the game at the rally," she said.

She has also taken part in autocross and 4x4 challenges to improve on her navigations.

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