Mcrae Kimathi with his Ford Fiesta R3 ahead of the WRC Safari Rally. [Standard Sports]

Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) Division One leader McRae Kimathi is aiming to be the top local finisher at the WRC Safari Rally slated for June 24-27 in Naivasha.

He is already happy he has taken the first step towards realsing his dream after his new toy, a Ford Fiesta R3 was unveiled by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, on July 17.

“I wish you success in the Safari Rally and in future local and international motorsport. Kindly be good Kenyan ambassadors,” Uhuru told the three FIA Young Star Programme members that also include Kimathi.

With the President’s blessings, Kimathi is fired up.

“I will ensure I bring the car back home in one piece,” he told Standard Sports.

“It is also at the Safari Rally that I will strive to make the best use of the foundation I have laid  down in motorsport for years,” said Kimathi, who is the son of the former rally driver and now the CEO of WRC Safari Rally Kenya, Phineas Kimathi.

The 2017 National Autocross Championship runners-up has already sold his old Subaru Imprezza N12 after getting the new beast.

He sold it to an upcoming driver and wished the buyer well as he starts a new milestone in his racing career.

“My prayer is for the Ford Fiesta R3 to better my previous results I got with the old car,” the young Kimathi said.

Kimathi is currently getting technical training in handling the new road warrior.

He is also preparing himself mentally and physically (attending gym sessions) ahead of the Safari Rally that is expected to be very tough.

Being in the prestigious FIA Young Star Programme, supported by national carrier Kenya Airways and mobile services providers Safaricom, has opened exciting opportunities for Kimathi.

The three-year scholarship gives him an opportunity to learn from the best.

“Through this scholarship, I will get the knowledge and skills so as to become a better driver and more professional in the future,” he said.

“I will get the training, sharpen my driving skills, gain the experience and utilise them to my maximum benefits.”

As the current KNRC Division One leader, Kimathi is hopeful to bag the series at the end of the year.

The 26-year old was introduced to the sport by his father Phineas, who was a national champion way back in 1997.

“I come from a rallying background, so it was natural for me to join motorsport,” Kimathi said.

In the next five years, Kimathi wants to have the East African and the national titles under his belt.

His message to other young people struggling to join the game is to never to give up.

“Rallying is not an easy sport. You need to be very disciplined because it takes a lot of your mental and physical ability,” he said.

 

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