Fired up Bengi optimistic of making impact ahead of next Classic Rally race

Monday, September 13th, 2021 00:00 |
Driver Eric Bengi unveils his car for the race during the launch on Friday. Photo/PD/EDWIN OTIENO

Edwin Otieno

Kenya National Rally Championship speed merchant Eric Bengi is excited to be the first indigenous driver to declare his intention to bag the 10th edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) slated for February 10 to 18.

Bengi is already fired up to leave an indelible mark  in the gruelling championship that will traverse Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

“Like our predecessors Shekhar Mehta, Joginder Singh and Ian Duncan we are honoured to take part in the event.

We are already pumped up for the rally,” he told People Sports during the launch in Nairobi on Friday night.

“Our intention is to gain experience. But we also want to win the competition. We will go out there to compete to land in top position,”he said.

Bengi’s declaration comes days after he secured full sponsorship for the championship from the EASCR.

Vintage car

The EASCR has gifted him with a vintage car two years older than him that he is currently moulding to his taste and satisfaction.

“The sponsorships fulfills one of my bucket list in the sport.It has come in the right moment; it’s like the EASCR was listening to my prayers that I wanted badly answered,” says Bengi.

As part of his secret weapon, Bengi intents to apply all the skills he has acquired from his participation in the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) and the Autocross Championships since he first embraced motorsports in 2012.

“KNRC is like a short marathon; it has taught me endurance, speed and tact. Autocross teaches you the art of car control and navigation which I have also mastered. Now, the EASCR is a combination of both,” he says.

In his quest for glory, Bengi will battle former Junior World Rally Champion Patrik Sandell of Sweden who has already registered for the event. The other one is Ken Block, a speedster who is also a rally YouTube guru whose sports films are commanding over 500 million viewers across the world.

The EASCR Board Chairman Joey Ghose said he is confident Bengi will finish the tedious contest that will cover over 5000km.

“We hope he wins it one day,” said Ghose.

Ahead of the main event, the organisers have come up with a Mini-Classic  Rally slated for November 1-9,2021 that will act as a dry run.

“We have already lowered the prices for the Mini-Classic entries,”says EASCR Head of Marketing Tash Tundo.

“We are targeting 1000 people, of which 700 will be drivers, across 13 Kenyan counties for the Mini-Classic. We encourage women to register and participate,” said Tundo.

Joseph  Boinnet, Cabinet Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, is optimistic the championship will help revive the former East Africa spirit that promoted trade and tourism.

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