Driver Eric Bengi and Navigator Gatimu Mindo (left) next to Datsun 180 B during the official launch of The East African Safari Classic Rally at Marula in Karen, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) speed merchant Eric Bengi is excited to be the first indigenous driver to declare his intention to bag the tenth edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) slated for February 10-18, 2022.

Bengi is already fired up to leave a mark  in the gruelling championship that will traverse Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

“Like our predecessors Shekhar Mehta, Joginder Singh and Ian Duncan we are honoured to take part in the event. We are already pumped up for the rally,” he told Standard Sports during the launch of the event in Nairobi on Friday night.

“Our intention is to gain experience. But we also want to win the competition. We will go out there to compete to land in top position,” he said. Bengi’s declaration comes days after he landed a full sponsorship for the championship from the EASCR.

Sports Chief Administrative Secretary Zacharia Kinuthia (left) and Ministry Of Tourism CAS Joseph Boinet (second left) and The East African Safari Classic Rally Chairman Joey Ghose (right) with other guests officially launch The East African Safari Classic Rally at Marula in Karen, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The EASCR has gifted him with a vintage car two years older than him. He is currently moulding to his taste and satisfaction.

“The sponsorships fulfills one of my bucket list in the sport. It has come at the right moment; it’s like the EASCR was listening to my prayers that I wanted answered,” Bengi said.

As part of his secret weapon, Bengi intents to apply all the skills he has acquired from his participation in the KNRC and the Autocross Championships since he first embraced the sport in 2012.

“KNRC is like a short marathon; it has taught me endurance, speed and tact. Autocross teaches you the art of car control and navigation which I have also mastered.

“Now, the EASCR is a combination of both,” he said.

In his quest for glory, Bengi will battle former Junior World Rally Champion Patrik Sandell of Sweden who has already registered for the event.

The other one is Ken Block, a speedster who is also a rally YouTube guru whose sports films are commanding over 500 million viewers across the world.

Driver Eric Bengi during the official launch of The East African Safari Classic Rally at Marula in Karen, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The EASCR Board Chairman Joey Ghose said he was confident Bengi will finish the tedious contest that will cover over 5000km.

Ahead of the main event, the organisers have come up with a Mini-Classic Rally slated for November 1-9, 2021 that will act as a dry run.

From left- Juliana Rotich Board Member The Standard Group PLC, Tash Tundo Head Of Marketing at East African Safari Rally, Enos Oluoch Brand Manager The Standard Group PLC, Joseph Kiruri Chief Finance Officer, The Standard Group PLC, Jimmy Nzivo- Commercial Manager Standard Group PLC and Chief of Staff The Standard Group PLC Laban Cliff during the official launch of The East African Safari Classic Rally at Marula in Karen, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

“We have already lowered entry fee for the Mini-Classic,” EASCR Head of Marketing Tash Tundo said.

“We are targeting 1000 people, of which 700 will be drivers, across 13 Kenyan counties for the Mini-Classic,” Tundo said.

 

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