Safari Rally 2024: Patel eager to improve on Kenyan drivers' ratings in rally

Kenyan rally driver Karan Patel and Sports CS Ababu Namwamba. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

After dropping out in last year's championships, Africa Rally Championships (ARC) defending champion Karan Patel is ready to reclaim Kenya's position in WRC Safari Rally this time round.

Patel is ready to reclaim the list glory of Kenyan drivers in the competition.

Patel, who was penalised last season owing to an infringement by FIA officials and later fined, said he's keen to improve on the ratings of local drivers to ensure they take their rightful position in the event's global map.

"We have been known to win this event in the past and we are determined to do so again and replicate a similar performance this time round," Patel told Standard Sports.

He said despite being under pressure from experienced foreign drivers, they (local drivers) were also giving them a run for their money.

"These foreign drivers are giving us great pressure but it's good to race against such experienced drivers because they expose us (local drivers) on what we need to do to match them," he added.

Patel and five time Safari Rally champion Carl 'Flash' Tundo are among the most experienced Kenyan drivers of the eight entered in the rally. 

Patel co-driven by his long time ally Touseef Khan in a Skoda Fabia said the event has also positioned him well in the defence for his continental title.

"By participating in the WRC Safari Rally and other WRC events gives us more advantages over our opponents when it comes to the ARC series," said Patel.

The Kenyan driver who seems to be catching up with the pace of global opponents admitted that he had kept to foreign drivers' pace.

"So far, I have kept to their pace and hopefully we look forward to finishing at a respectable position," he observed.

Other Kenyan drivers in the rally are Saman Vohra/Alfir Khan in a Skoda Fabia, Ask if Virani/Zahir Shah in Skoda Fabia, Hamzar Anwar/Adnan Fin in Ford Fiesta, Deep Patel/Sachamia in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, Minesh Rathop/Gordon Noble in Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X and Andrew Muiruri/Edward Njoroge also in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.

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