It is all system go as powerful turbo-charged machines zoom off this afternoon for the gruelling KCB S&L Mortgages Rally Championship in South Coast.
The long wait for Coast residents to watch rally drivers battle with their machines is over as the rally starts at 2pm at the KCB’s Ukunda branch.
Scrutineering starts at 8am at Leisure Lodge before the cars head to the starting podium.
The two-day KCB S&L Mortgages Rally marks the second half and by extension the fifth round of the eight-leg Kenya National Rally Championship.
The event’s highlight revolves around two aspects- the long endurance sections that will be tackled at super special speeds as well as the hair-raising spectator stage next to Ukunda airstrip.
Mombasa Motor Club Secretary Essak Ghalia said the Ukunda Airstrip spectator stage will be repeated tomorrow to give spectators more of the action. The repeat run of Ukunda spectator stage tomorrow is the last stage of the rally prior to the finish at Leisure Lodge at 12.57pm.
Friday, crews felt the rigours of the route in the scheduled reconnaissance.
One of the biggest attractions is the 78-kilometer stage in Shimba Hills that calls for extra caution, concentration and level-headedness, according to Ghalia.
“As we speak, drivers are on recce and I’m getting a good feedback that they are loving it,” said Essak.
A total of 62 drivers will take part in the event and this goes down in the folklore as the highest entry ever registered in the MMC event.
“There is lots of excitement with numbers,” said Ghalia, who is also the event director.
Meanwhile, Harpreet Sagoo “Hapz” and his partner Harvinder Dhanjal “Harru” hope to finish their home event. The duo made rallying history by being the first ever all- “Kalasinga” crew from Mombasa to attempt and finish the Safari Rally.
Hapz’s father Surjit Singh Sagoo rallied from late 70s to early 80s and drove a Datsun 1600SSS which was prepared by him to the Datsun PA10 spec and ruffled feathers under Sagoo Rally Team (SRT) livery.
The Coast legion has the likes of Coast Champion Naushad Kara, Izhaz Mirza, in his Subaru N12, Alastair Cavenagh, Peter and Alex Horsey, Farhan Khan “Don”, Rob Hellier, Jamohammed Abdulatif and his sister Farzin Janmohammed. Others are Sudesh Hirani “Hakuuz”, Hapz Sagoo, Yusuf Pasta, Paras Pandya, Nadeem Kana, Jitendra Davda, Khalid Yusuf, Victor Okundi and Riyaz Shiraz.
The 2WD Class has attracted 12 drivers including Gurmit Thethy (VW Golf GTi), two times former champion Leo Varese, the current Champion James Kirimi, Rajbir Rai and the father and son crew of Jitendra Davda “Jitu” and Jetein Prakash Babu (Toyota Marino).
By ERNEST NDUNDA, The Standard