Sublime Patel racks up maiden career KNRC win in KCB Voi Rally
Karan Patel finally secured his maiden Kenya National Rally Championship career win as curtains came down on the KCB Voi Rally.
The former 85cc East African Motocross Champion had his campaign effectively sewn up with four out of eight stage wins which featured in the gruelling 445.97km Sikh Union-organised round.
Patel, who made his KNRC debut in 2014, survived early red alarm scares in the first stage but rallied from fourth fastest at Teita1 to victory in his Ford Fiesta R5.
Baldev Chager on his very first outing in Onkar Rai’s WRC3 Safari winning machine also won four stages to settle for second place.
Carl Tundo in his Evolution 10 and navigated by Tim Jessop came home third followed by Group N leader Jasmeet Chana and Skoda R5 driver Aakif in 5th place.
Chager also savoured bonus championship points for winning the Power Stage which incidentally was the repeat run of Izera Ranch stage.
Apart from losing the side view mirror and front left/ right wings, Karan avoided trouble on the narrow roads in Taita Taveta County.
This went down as Karan’s third racing victory after winning the 2017 Arusha Rally and last year’s Arusha Guru Nanak Rally.
Said Karan after victory: “We are really happy for our first KNRC win, no secret really. It’s a bit of good seat time in the car and some good commitment to the stages and the pace-notes.
All in all a good drive, we have had no major troubles with the car touchwood, so that also helped to build confidence and yes we are over the moon.”
“The terrain was very narrow and as you can see, the car is missing it’s side view mirrors as well as left and right front wings so I think it’s part of committing to the stage and I’m not too disappointed with that,” said Karan after his fairytale win.
“We had a red alarm with respect to our engine coolant pressure. Red is something you don’t take for granted and in order to save the engine I just stopped to actually ensure we have good water pressures.
We managed the situation which was initially a worry for me. Hopefully some more wins come in this car, we have ARC events to do and hope to be champions of Africa this season.”
Baldev Chager was happy with second place on his return to Voi Wildlife holding area.
“Very amazing rally, amazing car to be honest and I don’t even think I’m driving it to 50 or 60 percent of its potential.
The stages in particular were not really the best to start learning the car with especially the Maungu one so we have had our fair share of troubles to contend with today.
We went off and overshot a corner then got stuck and lost 40 seconds,” Chager said.