Voice of Sport

Pair hopes to continue charge for Group ‘S’ win at Machakos

Competition for the national championship among Group ‘N’ drivers is also expected to be cut-throat. A new crop of young drivers such as Jassi Chatte, Manvir Baryan, Onkar Rai, Rajbir Rai and Quentin Mitchell, will be challenging the old guard


HUSSEIN Malik and his navigator Steve Njenga have set a target of clinching the Group ‘S’ and Division 3 titles of this year’s Kenyan National Rally Championship [KNRC].

The duo [“Version 6 Rally Team”] will be at the quest of their goal during Sunday’s KCB Machakos Rally, the second round of the national series.

Competition for the national championship among Group ‘N’ drivers is also expected to be cut-throat. A new crop of young drivers such as Jassi Chatte, Manvir Baryan, Onkar Rai, Rajbir Rai and Quentin Mitchell, will be challenging the old guards comprising reigning champion Baldev Chager, Carl Tundo,  Alastair Cavenagh and Ian Duncan.

Tundo, who had initially been disqualified for stopping in a stage, won the Malindi race while Chager and Chatte finished second and third to wrap up the podium places.

New season

After missing all but one event of last season, Malik and Njenga have made their intentions clear very early in the new season. Early this month, they won the Group ‘S’ and finished 14th overall the season-opening Malindi Rally.

The team’s confidence has been greatly bolstered by the acquisition of a refurbished Mitsubishi EVO 6 to replace their old Subaru GC8 which they have sold off.

“Our performance in Malindi exceeded our expectation because we were driving an unfamiliar car. Last season we were rebuilding the car but the work took longer than we expected hence we only competed in one event,” Malik said.

His new contraption is a championship winning car that was previously owned by Azar Anwar. The youthful driver believes the car’s winning pedigree will perhaps be the game changer for their season.

Major challenge

“Everything about the car feels good but we want to see how well we will perform in the next two events. Then from there we will be able to scheme for the remainder of the season.”

The major challenge, he said is sponsorship. The team is currently sponsored by Version 6 Limited and Extreme Media Solutions but is seeking more partners.

The driver admits that he expects stiff competition in the eight-event season, especially from Alasdair Keith, whom he pipped  in Malindi after multiple alterations to the initial results of an event that we marred by controversy.

Safari and Guru Nanak

“Our biggest competitor will be Keith who gave us a run for our money in Malindi. But we have the self-belief that this is going to be our season.”

A new champion will certainly be crowned in Group ‘S’ following the absence of Jaswinder “Jazzy” Chana who won the group championship last year. Chana has since rested his championship winning Toyota Celica GT4 and indicated that he will only do Safari and Guru Nanak rallies.

– KMSF