Varese heartbeat away from 2WD title

Leonardo Varese of Sport pesa drills his vehicle through a tricky section in a past rallly. (Image: Courtesy)

Leonardo Varese, the 2WD front-runner and his navigator Kigo Kareithi “KV” are ‘absolutely convinced’ of retaining the drivers’ title in next month’s season-ending round of the 2014 Kenya National Rally Championship.

Varese needs just a point to beat closest challenger and defending champion Dennis Mwenda on the 35th Guru Nanak Rally to recapture the title he won for the first time in 2008.

Sportpesa-sponsored Varese and Kareithi missed the opportunity to seal the championship in Nanyuki at last month’s Safari when electrical problems in their ex-Horsey Toyota Corolla RSI were compounded by a time penalty.

Varese won in Kisumu last weekend to increase the gap over Mwenda to 19 points after earlier pacesetter Eric Bengi retired and all he needs to do now is finish last to reclaim the coveted title.

But if he retires and Mwenda triumphs, he will lose out. “We had a hapless time at Safari rally in Nanyuki when an electrical problem stalled our car just a few meters from flag-off at KICC,” said Varese.

“In Kisumu we had a lot to atone for, so we were even more motivated to do well in Chemase. Kigo (co-driver) and I have the opportunity to recapture the title with a Sunday drive in Guru. I’m absolutely convinced that we will pull through in Guru because pressure is on Mwenda to attack and win. He also has spoilers to tackle on his way up,” added Varese.

“We have done the hardest part to win in Kisumu and win four rounds (Machakos, Kisumu, Kiambu and Nanyuki) in a season. This has eased the pressure on us going into the final round which I believe will have a full house,” said Varese.

The rally is co-sponsored by official communication partners iWay Africa, safety and evacuation chopper providers ALS, Zero car providers Toyota Kenya and insurance providers ICEA Lion.