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BACK ON TOP: Bengi recaptures championship lead with win in KCB Eldoret Rally

Last updated 5 years ago | By Odero Charles

KCB RALLY
Quentin Mitchell in action during KCB Eldoret Rally at the weekend. [PHOTO:PETER OCHIENG'/STANDARD]Caption

After retiring in Voi last month, Eric Bengi regained the Championship lead after winning the Two Wheel Drive Class in KCB Eldoret Rally 2015 at the weekend.

Farhaaz Khan won KNRC Division 1 class after finishing 13th overall, while Jansher Sandhu won KNRC Division Three in 11th overall position. Dennis Mwenda won Division Two for the second event running.

Navigated by Tony Gikuhi in a Toyota RunX, Bengi finished the Western Kenya Motor Cub round in 19th overall position.

Second overall in 2WD was Sammy Nyorri also in a Run X, while Gurmit Thethy came third.

"After retiring in Voi, we assessed our risks and evaluated the capability of the car. It was  important for us to score some points in this rally after the mishap in Voi and I'm happy we have our lead back," said Nyorri.

"In CS1, our Proflex shocks did only 15km. After that, we drove without rear shocks. The problem was fixed in service so we were limping through prior to the second loop," said Thethy who finished third in the 2WD to make up for his no-show in Voi.

"We had a good run in Eldoret although we lost time in the first stage when we caught the car ahead of us. With poor visibility I hit a couple of stones and damaged the exhaust. On the last loop in the Flouspar section, we had to do the last four kilometres with jamming brakes which slowed us down further.  However, it was a great event and we are happy to have finished third  and also broke the Eldoret Jinx in style," added Thethy.

Finnish driver Tapio Laukkanen took a convincing victory in Eldoret after leading from start to finish in a Subaru Impreza GVB13.

The Former British and Finland Rally champion beat Kenyan youngster Rajbir Rai by a 2 minutes 55 seconds margin to win while former Ugandan champion Jas Mangat sealed the podium dash 3:52 minutes behind the winner.

 

FULL SEASON

Laukkanen, who is tackling the full season of the 2015 Kenya National Rally Championship, won the opening Kisumu Rally in February.

"We had some issues with our engine which was not running with full power. So at the beginning I was a bit worried-but getting to the finish with a good result after some scares is always a good feeling. The roads are slightly rougher than what we have in Europe and Group Ns are not good on these types of roads," said Laukkanen who was navigated by Pasi Torma in his R4 Subaru.

Laukkanen opened a 14 second cushion after the first run of the 40km Kispsaos - Kimwarer stage but the lead over Rajbir was reduced to a mere two seconds when Laukkanen has a puncture on Flourspar stage.

Rai said: "We are getting better and better by event so we will see if we can keep the pace. We have three events left so let's see how it goes."

Laukkanen won five out of six stages with Rai winning the initial run at Flourspar. Quentin Mitchell finished fourth, while KNRC leader Japreet Chatthe was fifth. Carl Tundo finished sixth followed by Manvir Baryan and defending champion Baldev Chager who finished eighth.

Chager had his run frustrated by two punctures on the Flourspar stage while Tundo lost the inter-cooler. Out of the 51 who entered the event, 36 drivers survived the demanding conditions. The next rally moves to Machakos and Lisa Farm in Konza next month.

 

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