Ali Mirza, the youngest member
of Coast Pekee team, is set to make his debut as a driver on his
home rally at Vipingo Mombasa Cement on January 28 writes top
Kenyan motor rally correspondent SAMSON ATEKA.
Ali, who started his racing career with go karts at GP Karting
Nairobi, Nakuru’s Solai and Momabsa Go Kart tracks, will drive
his dad’s Subaru GC8 which has over the years been synonymous
with the Mirzas.
Coast Pekee team principal mzee Ajaz Mirza also confirmed the
participation of his other two sons - Izhar (Izzy) and Adil.
Adil will be navigated by Kashif Sheikh in an Evo7 whist
Izhar, the fastest of the Mirza family, will partner up with
Kavit Dave in his Mitsubishi Evolution 9.
Organisers Mombasa Motor Club (MMC) will be represented by
the Pandyas-Kamlesh and Paras, Harpreet "Hapz" Sagoo, Yusuf
Pasta of Roadtainers Racing, Cardiff based Imran Mogul and Coast
champion Naushad Kara both from Lota Motorsports.
Pasta has a new navigator in Ahmed Rashid and hopes to tackle
the home event with considerable speed and caution.
Nairobi based Dennis Mwenda and Job Njiru have also confirmed
their participation in their championship winning Silverspread
Team Meru Evolution 9.
Also confirmed for the season opener are the reigning KNRC
Division 3 champs, the Hai Rally Chix comprising of NatashaTundo
and Chantal Young.
Karan Patel who participated in five rounds of the WRC last
year will be teaming up with fomer MMC homeboy James Mwangi
Harrison in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10.
Four times Safari Rally winners Carl "Flash" Tundo and Tim
Jessop will be back in their Ford Fiesta Proto.
"We are entering the Fiesta and redoing all the wiring in the
car," said Jessop.
Multiple Racing Team (MRT) have confirmed two cars to be
driven by the Flying Finn Tapio Laukkanen and Manvir Baryan.
Laukkanen, who has swept the ground with all his opoonents
over the past two seasons, has yet to announce his new machine
but has been linked to an Evolution.
Kisumu-based Chandu Devji has also confirmed his entry.
Sam Karangatha who made his KNRC debut last year remains
doubtful for the season Chifu’ said.
‘We’ll be preparing our vehicle and we really hope to make it
to the first round in Mombasa.
"We are definitely working towards it!
"If everything works out as planned, we’ll be there, " said
Reigning Division Two champion Mahesh Halai is excited to
move up yo the next level.
‘It’s a new season and going into Division 1 is a higher
notch of competition.
"We hope to drive sensibly to avoid breaking the car and
picking up punctures
Steve Mwangi ‘ Chifu’: "I thank God for giving me another
year for rallying.
"There is no gainsaying though that rallying in Kenya has
become so competitive considering the fact that teams are trying
their hardest to upgrade to more sophisticated and fast cars.
"We at Andy Rally Team are taking it all in our stride and
have no choice but to ensure the car is in good nick and with
the right mapping ahead of the rally.
"I’m hoping to tackle the full season this year as I eye the
KNRC division 1 honors.
"We are shopping around for a for a potential sponsor to help
us realize our dream."