Champ driver Virani psyched up for 2022 after winning top

Aakif Virani, who crowned last season with victory in the charged Nanyuki Rally, says he looks forward to a competitive 2022 season after being named the 2021 Kenya Motorsports Personality of the Year.

The Skoda Fabia R5 driver beat, among others, Africa champion Carl Tundo to the top prize that was announced on Saturday night at the Kenya Motor Sports Federations (KMSF) Awards Gala at Kasarani.

Virani wasn’t at his crowning ceremony, but in a virtual message to the gathering, he promised to up the ante this season.

“It’s such a great feeling to be recognised for my hard work. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I hope to up my game in the 2022 season and perform even better,” said Virani, who is a Nairobi-based businessman.

Virani sensationally won the Nanyuki round of the Kenya National rally Championship following an appeal against Tundo who was adjudged to have received illegal assistance from another driver, Jasmeet Chana, at the rally’s power stage.

Amina Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage, was the chief guest at the awards gala attended by members of the 15 motor clubs from across the country alongside competitors from KMSF’s various codes including rallying, autocross and motocross.

Tundo said he was excited at being appreciated at the awards ceremony following his success in the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) and the African Rally Championship.

“It is now time for us to take a rest from the major series. I will do the Classic Rally and selected KNRC events such as the Equator and Safari rallies. But I must say it has been an exciting season for me and my navigator Tim Jessop,” Tundo told Nation Sport at the ceremony.

Phineas Kimathi, the Chairman of the KMSF, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the World Rally Championship Safari Rally, said he was happy with the way the sport was run last year.

“As a nation we are very proud of our sport. We are the only country in Africa to have fulfilled 100 percent of our motor sports commitments. The function tonight is also being held at the Safari Rally Headquarters. It is a proud moment for us all,” Kimathi said.

New rules for the 2022 KNRC will see the scrapping of the Premier Division with focus now on Division One, Two and Three.

It was also disclosed that the International Automobile Federation will include the Safari Rally in the World Rally Championship calendar for the next five years.

The Clubman Rally Championship has also been re-introduced after three years out of the annual calendar of events.

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