Nairobi – Division One champion Aakif Virani beat greatest challenger Carl “Flash” Tundo to be crowned the 2021 Kenyan Motorsport Personality of the Year during a colorful ceremony at the WRC Safari Rally Secretariat in Kasarani.
The acclaimed Skoda Fabia R5 driver beamed in his video message about his fairytale performance after being declared the winner.
“It’s such a great feeling to be recognized for my hard work. It has not arrived yet. I hope to improve my game and do even better in the 2022 season,” said Aakif, speaking to the gala night audience via Zoom.
The Nairobi-based businessman was voted for the coveted award by the Kenya Motor Sport Federation (KMSF) license holders and commissions.
Aakif recorded his first KNRC win at the 2021 KCB Nanyuki Rally after Tundo was disqualified for being pushed off the end of the power stage by Jasmeet Chana.
Meanwhile, Linet Ayuko was voted KNRC Navigator of the Year after a string of top ten finishes.
Ayuko, who navigated Maxine Wahome in Division Two and Hussein Malik in Division One, racked up unassailable points in the Division Two Navigators Championship but failed to reach the 75% threshold to qualify for a title.
The gala night also recognized the 2021 champions in various motorsport disciplines as well as meritorious achievements.
Division One driver Mcrae Kimathi was awarded the FIA ARC Junior Championship for Drivers as well as the FIA ARC 3 title. His navigator Mwangi Kioni enjoyed him as a FIA ARC 3 Championship for co-drivers.
On this occasion Amina Mohamed, Main Guest and Sports CS Ambassador, officially presented the winner Robert Dewar with the FIA Founding Member’s Club Heritage Cup. Dewar, the mastermind behind the annual Africa Concours d’Elegance, scooped the trophy at December’s FIA Awards Gala in Paris.
Amina praised all winners for a great motorsport season. She expressed optimism for the upcoming season, adding that the FIA has confirmed that Safari Rally will retain its global status for the next five years
“Safari was the busiest WRC event of 2021, which was an important milestone. We also opened the Safari Rally office in Finland to support the marketing of Kenyan products and tourism. In addition, the Safari Greening Project, in which Kenya hopes to plant 18 million trees in three years across the country, has been a huge success,” said Amina.
Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF) Chairman Phineas has unveiled the national competition rules for 2022 and announced important technical changes
Kimathi announced the abolition of the KNRC Premier Class, which was replaced by the existing Division One Class.
He said that Rally Raid cars (T1 and T5) are now allowed to enter the KNRC.
“The 2021 season was a great success. We were able to add asphalt racing to their schedule by introducing the Motorkhana to Kenya for the first time. This is actually the first award to feature asphalt events. During the season, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) awarded Kenya the two-star environmental accreditation based on audit information from the 2021 WRC Safari Rally.