The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Bell Set for Voi

South African driver Geoff Bell has signed up for the KCB Voi Rally slated for February 23.

Bell, who is testing his Datsun 240Z ahead of November's KQ East African Safari Classic Rally, will be navigated by Kenya- based Tim Challen.

Hardev Singh Sira from Britain is this year running on a Kenyan competition license and will be taking on Bell in the Classic Car Cup category in a Ford Escort Mexico.

Champion Aslam Khan leads the Classic Car Cup after winning this category in Kajiado and anticipate a great showdown with foreigners.

The Classic Class will also see the return of Rally Queens-Samira Khan and Chantal Young, who are expected to partake their first event this season. Chantal is the winner of the "Ladies Rose Bowl" for the most meritorious motorsports lady competitor for the year 2012 and incidentally, the defending champion for the Classic Car Cup navigator.

Jas Mangat from Uganda is expected to take on the Kenyan big boys after retiring in Mbarara Rally back home at the weekend.Mangat, the reigning Ugandan champion belongs to the first tier KNRC Division 1 lot.

It will be exciting to see the Horsey brothers--Peter and Alex--back in Voi. The Horsey will be swapping cars they used in Kajiado Rally last month.

Alex, who finished fourth in Kajiado, will this time round drive the Mitsubishi EVOX while Peter will be on the crowd-pleasing "Moto Moto" Datsun Pick-up. As preparations gather momentum, organisers East African Safari Rally are promising spectators and competitors a great race weekend.

The four longer competitive sections will be in the Taita Hills and will run in the Kisushe, Ghazi, Shelembwa and Wundanyi area. The first competitive section will be repeated once. The route is very compact and can be recced twice within 7 hours. The Service Park, scrutineering and parc ferme will be at the Voi Wildlife Lodge.

Meanwhile, with the annual Rhino Charge only four months away, chargers have an ideal opportunity to try out their machines well in advance as the Athi 4X4 Challenge heads to Swara Plains Conservancy- a stone throw from Nairobi this Sunday.

Quite a number of rally drivers have signed up with Ben Muchemi alias "Baba Ciru" entering for the challenge in his "Kenya Juu" 110 Rand Rover in the Safaricom/KRT team livery.

Nakuru-based rally champion Carl "Flash" Tundo is set to make his debut in off road territory and has entered a Mitsubishi Pajero. He renews his rivalry with legendary WRC Safari winner Ian Duncan and John Kanyali from Diani.

Kanyali is known for his crowd-pleasing Mercedes Unimog and is back to showcase his uncanny knack, this time, in a Jeep.

"It promises to be fantastic fun and an opportunity to try out our cars before this year's Rhino Charge--we would rather break something in Athi River than in the middle of the bush. The only problem is that with this amount of spectators there will be plenty of opportunity to mess up in front of a big crowd - thrills and spills are guaranteed!"

Kanyali, who has won five 4X4 competitions in Lukenya, will certainly be put to the test in the Expert category, although those who wish to enter their unmodified 4x4s can enter the Intermediate category for guaranteed fun without the risk of damaging their cars.

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