Premier Class driver Onkar Singh Rai will be the first one off the ramp when the KCB Kilifi Rally revs off on Friday.
Navigated by Gareth Dawe, the former Division 2 champion will savor his first ride on the VW Polo R5 which is the latest super car to grace the 8-leg Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC).
Onkar has already tested the Polo locally and will be among the star attractions in Kilifi.
Although no one knows what’s up his sleeves, this will be known when 23 cars start the fourth round of the KNRC series at Mombasa Cement Limited from 7:00 pm onwards on Friday.
Onkar’s teammate Baldev Chager has reiterated that R5s will be strong through and through in 2019.
Chager is seeded second on the Mombasa Motor Club (MMC) organized round and will be going for a rare hat trick behind the wheels of a Mitsubishi Evolution 10- R4.
Seeded third is another Kabras driver Tejveer Rai who will be teaming up with Gavin by Laurence in another R4 Mitsubishi Evolution 10.
Newly crowned FIA African Rally Champion Manvir Baryan will be flagged off in the fourth slot alongside his British co-driver Drew Sturrock.
Manvir will be piloting a Skoda Fabia R5 model which has literally swept the ground with all its race adversaries across the African continent over the past three seasons. Although Onkar’s Skoda won the season-opening Nakuru Rally, Manvir’s Skoda is yet to register a win this season.
Manvir, who skipped Nakuru, lost the WRC Candidate Safari Rally on the very last stretch after his Skoda sucked in dust at Kedong. He also saw his fingers slip through Kadiado after Chager beat him by a mere 36 seconds.
Chager was all smiles ahead of Kilifi Rally and this is what he had to say: “I’m approaching Kilifi with lots of respect despite all the confidence generated from my back to back wins. The strategy is like every other KNRC; really nothing different at all. We go out to do the best we possibly can. But it’s a fact that the R5s will be better through and through and there’s no comparison with Evos. Tundo and I were just lucky on Safari when Manvir’s Skoda R5 sucked in dust and Onkar was out of the event.”
The KCB Kilifi Rally begins with a 21.31km special stage on Friday night in the dark and then continues with another 8 competitive stages on Saturday. This rally is the only round of the 2019 Kenya National Rally Championship at sea level.