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SPORTS

CAUTIOUS DRIVE: Bengi to stay alert in the rest of KNRC season

SPORTS By ERICK OCHIENG' | March 1st 2016
Farhaaz Khan and Riyaz Ismail in a Mitsubishi Evolution 9

Rally driver Eric Bengi has great plans in this year’s rally calendar.

After winning the Two Wheel Drive category during the KCB Kajiado Rally, Bengi, who is a series leader, says he will approach the rest of the season somewhat cautiously to avoid unnecessary risks.

Navigated by Tony Gikuhi in a Toyota RunX, Bengi beat Sammy Nyorri and defending champion Leonardo Varese to the podium dash, while VW Golf’s Gurmit Thethy finished fourth.

“It was great to see three Toyotas on the podium. We are happy to have had a trouble-free run in Kajiado County. Moving forward, we will drive with caution to ensure that we bring the RunX back to the podium,” said Bengi.

Bengi was christened “the Tapio (Laukkanen) of 2WD” last season after winning five out of eight rallies. Although he never won the championship, much to his chagrin, he learnt his lessons too. His fast and furious approach to the sport saw him blow two engines and dominate the category whenever he had a free run.

The Nairobi-based lawyer is happy that he has sorted most of the gremlins that made his machine unreliable.

“We don’t have any issues with the car at the moment. We stripped it in the pre-season and gave it a thorough check just to ensure all is well. The engine and drive shaft were our biggest undoing, but I’m happy with the car’s reliability,” said Bengi.

Meanwhile, 2WD champion Leo varese is excited to be on the podium after the first rally of the season.

“Done and dusted with KNRC round one. I got to drive the car on the day and test it on the rally day. The long stages had lots of jumps, but all in all, I’m happy coming in 18th overall and third in 2wd class. I thank my sponsors Sportpesa for making this possible and as usual, great job by Munir Khan and dad for preparing the car and James Maregwa Mutungu for testing and servicing.”

“Kajiado was very tricky. We dived hard on a jump, cracked our windscreen and lost our sump-guard in the last 40km stage,” Leo said.

After the first event, Bengi leads in the two wheel standings with 25 points followed by Run X driver Sammy Nyorri on 21 and varese on 18.

 

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