Flying Finn Tapio Laukannen drove like a man possessed to win his maiden KCB Nanyuki Rally title in dry and dusty conditions around Lengetia, Batian and Loldaiga.
The former Finland and British Rally champion, still fresh from his Wundanyi Rally win last month led the Nanyuki Rally Group organised round from start to finish and candidly admitted he is going flat out for championship which eluded him last season.
Tapio’s fast and furious antics in Laikipia county treated rally spectators to some exhilarating displays to the chagrin of local top guns who admitted that the Flying Finn was not only a rocket but indeed a hard nut to crack.
Second overall was defending champion champion Jaspreet Chatthe who trailled Tapio by 2.09 minutes.
Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo despite struggling with reliability gremlins on his second outing in his Ford Fiesta Proto, sealed the podium dash incidentally 5.51 minutes behind the winner.
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After five rounds, Tapio leads the KNRC on 104 with Chatthe who is also the African Rally champion lying second on 100 points.
Fourth overall were the Kabras Sugar Racing team crew of Onkar Rai and Gareth Dawe in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
Rajbir Rai became the first top gun to kiss the event goodbye after he was time barred upon arrival at Batian service.
Tapio was all smiles and this is what he had to say: “All was good except for the fifth stage where we had problems with the front diff. We are not pushing at full potential at the moment moment but I’m glad to carry our championship lead into the remaining g three events. It will however depend on how Chatthe will perform so I have to keep handing on there, no matter what.”
Chatthe’s navigator Gugu Panesar was happy with second and had this to say: “We had a good rhythm today (yesterday) and we kept it clean on the sections. This was a very technical rally and I guess that the championship is still wide open with three events left.”
Flash Tundo had to contend with lots of problems said: “We had lots of little problems throughout the rally with the brakes ceasing at some point. But the whole plan is to sort out these problems and learn how to drive it (Ford Fiesta Proto). Tapio has shown amazing pace and should win the championship this season.”
Baldev Chager came in fifth and said they took it easy. “We took it easy in the first run of Loldaiga but got a flat in the second run which we drove on it. I must admit that Tapio is out of this world and really appreciate the fact that he keeps improving the level of competition here in Kenya,” Chager said.
The fifth around of the Kenya National Rally Championship saw some drivers fail to master the Mount Kenya terrain. Eric Njogu, McRae Kimathi, David Kioni, Raaji Bharij were among the casualties.
It was a bitter pill for Rajbir to swallow considering that he was lying 3rd on the log at halfway stage in Wundanyi.“We started off really well in the morning and five kilometers into the first stage got some tight twistings which saw us hit a tree stamp then broke the steering arm and it took quite a bit of time to put everything back up so we ended up being time barred,’” said Rajbir’s navigator Tim Chakken.