Kenya: Driven By Adrenalin, Ayuko Has Something in the Pipeline

Navigator Linet Ayuko says participating in the World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally has heightened her anxiety in the sport.

"Adrenaline in motorsport is an amazing thing and am looking forward to testing my endurance in a global event," said Ayuko, who will partner Hussein Malik in a Mitsubishi Evolution 10 in the 2021 WRC Safari Rally this week.

Ayuko is a project management professional and works for the Kenya Pipeline Company and this she says has enhanced her navigation skills.

"As navigator I use almost the same skills I apply while monitoring a project," she explains.

"In a rally, I plan, and manage many things at the same time including time and updating the driver on the condition of the car and state of the terrain and weather."

"I may not be able to climb the podium, but my prayers and wishes are to finish the rally. If I finish the grueling rally that is enough victory for me and I would have conquered the tough terrain," says Ayuko, who describes herself as a road safety ambassador out of torturous terrain.

Ayuko navigated Malik in the African Rally Championship Equator Rally held in Naivasha on April 24 and 25.

"I'm returning to familiar terrain exactly two months after the Equator Rally and hopefully we will finish the race after dipping in a riverbank while negotiating a sharp bend," said Ayuko.

"I know it is not a walk in the park as the terrain is not a child play but our machine is well-tuned to tackle the tortures terrain," said Ayuko.

Ayuko and her colleague are among the eight crew sponsored by the gaming firm Betika at a tune of Sh80 million and will feature in the Group N category.

Other team members include Rehan Shah/Harshil Limbani, Andrew Muiruri/Edward Njoroge as well as Maxine Wahome/Chantal Young.

"I'm grateful to Betika for sponsoring the crew. It has been a while since we had a corporate entity sponsoring local drivers. It's fantastic to see local corporate like Betika supporting local drivers.

"The sponsorship has greatly improved our confidence ahead of the rally. We're are excited and appreciate the massive sponsorship. We hope to give our best shot when the rally revs off," said Ayuko.

"With this kind of sponsorship we have no stress just in case our vehicle develops mechanical problem as the sponsor has mobilised enough resources and backup crew and this is a big morale booster for local drivers in the WRC.

"I have a lot of confidence because I know behind the wheels we have a big sponsor ready to assist us to finish the race," said Ayuko.

Ayuko has been a navigator for Malik for the last two years and exuded confidence she will read the pace notes as accurately as possible.

"Naivasha terrain is tricky and as a navigator, you must be spot on pace notes. If it rains the driving dramatically changes and if it remains dry again it is another tough battle because of the dust. As a team, we must be keen on the changing patterns and switch our game plan as the terrain changes."

"I have been a full navigator for 11 years and with that kind of experience I have what it takes to help my partner navigate the tricky terrain with a lot of ease," she added.

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