The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Tapio Expected

Finnish rally driver Tapio Laukkanen is among the three foreigners expected to take part in this weekend's 33rd KCB Guru Nanak Rally set for Kedong and Suswa areas.

Tapio, who won the Finnish Rally Championship in a Volkswagen Golf GTi in 1996 and the British Rally Championship in 1999 with a Renault Mégane Maxi, will drive a Subaru Impreza N16 under the Multiple Racing Team (MRT) livery.

Although this is Tapio's first rally in Kenya, he is no stranger to the local rally circles, having serviced and trained KNRC Division Two contender Manvir Singh Baryan.

Tapio is well versed with the Kenyan terrain and will be among the top drivers to watch. According MRT team manager Clive Critchlow, Tapio will be navigated by Harri Kaapo also from Finland.

After weeks of meticulous preparations and focus, Kabras Sugar Racing and Menengai Oil Racing teams have pronounce themselves ready for the 33rd KCB Guru Nanak Rally slated for Kedong and Suswa territory on November 18.

Elsewhere, the 2004 Guru Nanak rally champion Baldev 'Boldy' Chager is planing to make a repeat performance during the event.

Chager is among the three top drivers being sponsored by Kabras Sugar. The Western Province-based company will be enter three identical hi-tech Subaru N16 contraptions with the other two being driven by Tejvir Rai and KNRC 2011 Division 2 champion Onkar Rai.

Chager, the 2008 Kenya national champion, will be targeting to eclipse speed merchants Carl Tundo, Ian Duncan and Alastair Cavenagh in the season-closing podium dash while the Rai siblings will be looking to wrap it up in top 10. Boldy, who is the 2007 Motor Personality-of-the-Year, won the Guru Nanak in 2004 in a Subaru hatchback navigated by the late Farakh Yusuf.

He will attempting a repeat performance in a state-of-the art Subaru , this time round, with 1998 KNRC Navigators champion Raju Sehmi.

"The Subaru N16 seems to be getting more reliable over time. After plenty of research and thought they are now performing. My Subaru has proven to be very fast on smooth flowing stages but still seems to lack the edge on jumps and extreme rough conditions. This year not many events have favoured the N16 as it's been rough and full of big jumps," commented Chager.

Tejvir is determined to end the gremlins which have stymied his run for the better part of the season. "Its been a horrible season with too many mechanical problems and a disaster in Safari. I have had issues with the gear-box and been off the top ten pace the whole season. A good clean finish and a top ten would be great in Guru Nanak," said Tejvir.

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