State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita is very optimistic of finishing this month’s World Rally Championship(WRC) Safari Rally after a successful outing at the Equator Rally, a dress rehearsal for the main event set for June 24-27.
The 45 year old finished among the top ten drivers during April showdown and he hopes to ride on the same performance to post impressive results during the upcoming spectacle which returns to Kenya after 19 year absence.
“We did set some pretty quick times in the Equator Rally in April and now that we are in a better mental space in terms of the limits of the car we hope to do better in the main event.If we get to the wolf stage we will give it our everything” he stated.
Following a successful curtain raiser at the ARC Equator Rally in April – which featured some of the same stages that will be used in June – organisers have been busy preparing the roads,and Waita has lauded the route design.
To ensure stages are in optimum condition when teams arrive, work has been carried out to define the rally route. The tracks have been graded, and earth bunds have been built on the inside of corners.
“I have to take my hat off to the team that have designed the route because they have managed to get the mix of technically very difficult stages through compacting the event into a very condensed area within the vast Nakuru and Naivasha” he told KBC Sports.
The thrill of finishing first in most competitions is always the dream of the participants. It is different with the ever-charming Safari Rally – billed as the toughest in the world.
Navigated by Tuta Mionki in his Evolution R4, racing for team “Kenya Mbele”,the experienced driver will be banking on the possibility of hot weather to favour his positive outcome in a competition regarded as one of motorsport’s most prestigious and celebrated events of its time before it departed the series in 2002.
“We want it to be hot and expect that the weather will be punishing so that we can endure we have been training towards sustaining much heat and going for long hours. We have been training our tyre changes off the car and basically just working on our fitness”
The government has put in the much-needed investment to position the championship for success, which the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage has termed as “a moment of pride for the East African nation”.
The championship will be a great thrill and reminiscent of the days of legendary past champions Patrick Njiru, Ian Duncan and others who flew the Kenya flag high back in the day.
This time, Kenya will host 24 foreign drivers and 34 local ones. Among Kenya’s big names will be 5 time Safari Rally champion Carl Tundo , world champion Sebastien Ogier, Onkar Rai,Karan Patel among others.