Kenyan motor sports enthusiasts can learn from world’s top rally teams: Bengi

Monday, May 24th, 2021 00:00 |

Edwin Otieno

KNRC Premier Class driver Eric Bengi reckons a majority of local drivers who will debut in next month’s WRC Safari Rally Kenya will savour an experience of a lifetime.

“Im very excited. it’s going to be our first WRC in 19 years as a country. Most of us were very young and didn’t know much about motorsport when the last WRC was held in Kenya.

It’s a good thing that it has come because the majority of the current drivers have never competed in the WRC Safari Rally. Personally I’m really looking forward  to it and it’s a dream come true,” says Bengi.

Bengi vividly remembers the last WRC in 2002 when he went out to cheer on the world rally teams.

  “I remember with nostalgia when the Peugeot 206 was competing in the Safari in 2002.

I mean, it’s quite exciting and unbelievable that today we’re the people doing this amazing  event alongside WRC drivers.

WRC cars will whip us hands down, yes. The car is out of this world. But it will be exciting to see how the R5’s fare against WRC 2 teams,” Bengi said.

Carl “Flash” Tundo and Rai siblings Onkar and Tejveer will drive VW Polo R5 cars which are a step below the WRC supercar.

Bengi will drive a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X (R4) navigated by Peter Mutuma.

The much fancied super cars in the forthcoming WRC Safari Rally may have thrown the spanner in the works for local R4 and Group N cars, but Premier Class ace  Bengi still believes he has got something up his sleeves.

The former Group N and Division One Champion also believes the fabled event may require a certain amount of calmness.  “But again World Rally Teams are experienced and race professionally.”

“Here in Kenya, racing is like a pastime, meaning we have our work commitments to deal with. A WRC driver lives and eats rallying, so it will be interesting how they tackle Safari.

All the three world rally teams (Toyota Gazoo, Hyundai Motorsport and M-Sport Ford) are yet to race in Africa so it will be a whole new experience for everyone really.”

Bengi’s Evolution X is undergoing a strip rebuild at the Baldev Chager’s BHP Performance workshop in Spring Valley Nairobi.

“There is a lot of that we need to learn from foreign teams. How they prepare for events  and so forth?”

Bengi is also excited that his car is homologated and passed the test as required by the world motorsports governing body, FIA.

“The car qualifies for the event, just a few upgrades from the scrutineering requirements.

 “Menengai have supported our team and I’m glad we are able to compete at the highest  level courtesy of their support,” added Bengi.

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