The 2012 KCB Kenya National Rally Championship zooms off in Nyeri this weekend with new rules.

Rallye Sports Club (RSC) are striving to ensure spectators in Nyeri witness the best of action in the KCB Micro- Banking Rally 2012 this weekend.

Organisers RSC are calling upon spectators to respect directions given by marshals.

“The rally is compact and has a very twisty terrain. The route is fast and short, so we expect spectators to exercise caution,” said clerk of the course Newton Njiru.

From this weekend, the 2WD class, which has previously been running a maximum of 80km, will now do the full rally, same as the KNRC cars.

The Specially Prepared Vehicle class has now been merged with the Group S. The Rallies Commission of KMSF has also re-introduced a low budget Class called Clubmans Rally Championship that will run a maximum of 80km without service.

“This is a class to encourages low budget and young drivers. They will do 80km without service,” Dave Macharia the KMSF chairman said in Nairobi, yesterday.

During the function, KCB’s head of Micro-Banking Simon Kariuki announced the bank will sponsor the 2012 KNCRC season to the tune of Sh36 million.

The rally will flagged off outside the KCB Nyeri branch on Saturday at 2pm, followed by the spectator stage at Ruringu Stadium from 3pm.

The rally restarts on Sunday 6.30am at the Green Hills Hotel parc ferme and heads towards Mathira and Aberdares areas.

On Sunday, drivers will repeat the Ruringu spectator stage twice. The Rally finishes at Ruringu.

As officials race against time to finalise the route, there has been quite a rush in most of the workshops as mechanics put final touches to their teams’ preparations.

The new season welcomes newcomers who are eager to make their presence felt in the rally sport.

It will also be exciting to see frontrunners of KNRC fight for points in their turbo-charged machines.

Alastair Cavenah and reigning Safari Rally winner Carl Tundo will be back in their Dalbit Petroleum Rally Team livery.

Tundo navigated Cavenagh in the East African Safari Classic Rally but skipped the season closing KCB Mtaani Rally in Mariakani last December.

Legendary driver Ian Duncan will be going for his seventh KNRC title, while Chager is plotting a repeat performance of 2008 when he won the Championship in Subaru N12.

Debut entry

Riyaz Shiraz of Shazz Group Rally Team also hopes to participate in the new season. Riyaz made his 2WD debut in a Dastun in Mombasa Rally.

McRae Kimathi is also expected to make a debut in the 2WD this year and so is Jeff Mburu.

Leo Varese is expected to return to the Two Wheel Drive and so is Niaz Bashir from Kisumu.

Other drivers in the KNRC are Ben Muchemi who will be racing in his hometown, Horsey brothers (Alex and Peter) from Mombasa, Imran Mogul, Hardeep Rehsi, Paras Pandya.

The 2WD class is without Joe Muchiri who has acquired the ex-Richard Onyoni Dubaru gc8.

Two times 2WD champion Leo Varese will team up with Kigondu Kareithi, while current champion James Kirimi teams up with Kimeli Korir from Eldoret.

Nyeri residents welcome rally action after six years when Nanyuki Rally’s spectator stage then ran at the town centre drawing thousands of spectators. Greenhills is the host hotel for the event.

But the last time full action proper was witnessed in Nyeri was three decades ago.

Rai siblings Onkar and Tejvir are psyched up. They are working round the clock along with their mentor Baldev Singh Chager at the BHP Performance workshop.

Onkar won the KNRC Division Two last season and is looking forward to his debut in the Division One which is the senior most league.

Oilibya Racing’s Charles Hinga will also be hoping a good run after achieving some top 10 finishes last year.

By ERICK OCHIENG’, The Standard

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