Last updated 13 days ago | By Ernest Ndunda
In September 2011, Nikhil was involved in an accident in Athi River
Nikhil uses pandemic period to fine-tune car for 2021 WRC Safari.
Kenya's paraplegic driver Nikhil Sachania is a man on a mission.
Following the recent safety equipment grant from FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission, Sachania has taken advantage of the pandemic period to fine-tune his hand-controlled Mitsubishi Evolution 10 in readiness for next year's World Rally Championships (WRC) Safari Rally event.
The reigning three-time Kenyan SPV champion has already fitted the certified safety fuel tank he received from ATL as part of the FIA disability grant in June.
The leader of the KCB Kenya National Rally Championship S Class and Division One logs is now racing against time for "Certificate of Adoption" eligibility after visiting FIA delegates recommended further upgrades.
Natacha Di Sivuliu (Project and Commission Manager-Safety Department) and Josef Halter (Engineer delegate from FIA) inspected his car.
"There are some modifications that were required for the hand controls. The modifications were to ensure the hand controls are attached securely to the car and that they work smoothly," said Sachania.
"We have also changed the rear differential of the car as we were having issues throughout last season. It kept failing all the time."
Sachania revealed that his SPV will be upgraded in phases well in time for the World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally.
The race was initially scheduled for this year but postponed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 virus.
"When the FIA delegates came to assess the car, they pointed out a few issues that needed to be done for us to conform with their safety standards. Their visit was to inspect the vehicle so that I can apply for the Certification of Adaption."
The Certificate of Adaptations is provided by the FIA for competition vehicles not in compliance with the corresponding homologation and/or technical regulations due to the adaptations required for a disabled driver.
The Adaptations Working Group of the FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission only accept requests for vehicles intended for competitions included in the International Sporting Calendar or competitions with regulations specifically requesting the FIA certificate of adaptations.
"The support from the FIA will help us conform to the FIA safety regulations and also allow us participate in FIA related events," he said.
The FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission offers support to disabled drivers through the no-cost supply of a range of safety equipment.
The grant is intended to make motor sport more accessible without compromising safety. The FIA created the Disability and Accessibility Commission to ensure accessible racing and motoring across both the sport and mobility pillars.
Sachania was hoping to make his WRC Safari debut in July 2020 but due to the current health condition in the world, he has had ample time to rework his hand-controlled SPV.
Sachania's car is a group N spec with the only addition of the hand controls and the SST transmission.
In September 2011, Nikhil was involved in an accident in Athi River as he was testing his new quad with Shazar Anwar and Zane Young.
He hit a rock at high-speed and landed head first. The impact shattered his spine. His love for the"man and machine" sport has seen him dominate the KNRC SPV Championship, which he has won thrice in 2014, 18 and 19