Kenya: Aakif Virani Named Motorsport Personality of the Year 2021
Nairobi – Division 1 champion Aakif Virani beat closest challenger Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo to be crowned Kenya Motorsport Personality of the Year 2021 in a colorful ceremony held at the secretariat of the WRC Safari Rally in Kasarani.
The Skoda Fabia-R5 driver who was celebrated in absentia, was all smiles for his fairy tale achievement in his video message after being declared the winner.
“It’s a great feeling to be recognized for my hard work. I haven’t figured it out yet. I hope to improve my game in the 2022 season and do even better,” said Aakif who spoke to the audience of the gala evening on zoom.
The Nairobi-based businessman was voted for the coveted prize by Kenya Motor Sport Federation (KMSF) licensees and competitors’ commissions.
Aakif recorded his first KNRC victory at the 2021 KCB Nanyuki Rally after Tundo was disqualified for being pushed from the end of the power phase by Jasmeet Chana.
Meanwhile, Linet Ayuko has been voted KNRC Navigator of the Year after a string of top ten finishes.
Ayuko, who managed Maxine Wahome in Division Two and Hussein Malik in Division One, racked up unassailable points in the Division Two Navigators Championship but did not meet the 75% threshold to be eligible for a title.
The gala evening also rewarded 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 savored his as the FIA ARC 3 Championship for Co-drivers.
The occasion also saw keynote guest and CS Sports Ambassador Amina Mohamed officially present the FIA Founding Member’s Club Heritage Cup to winner Robert Dewar. Dewar, the mastermind behind Africa’s annual Concours d’Elegance, picked up the trophy at the FIA Awards gala in Paris in December.
Amina congratulated all the winners for a great motorsport season. She expressed her optimism for the coming season, adding that the FIA had confirmed the Safari Rally would retain its global status for the next five years.
“Safari was the most watched WRC event in 2021, which was an important milestone. We have also opened the Safari Rally office in Finland to help market Kenyan products and tourism. Safari Greening in which Kenya hopes to plant 18 million trees in three years across the country has been a great success,” Amina said.
Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF) President Phineas has launched the National Competition Rules for 2022 announcing major technical changes
Kimathi announced the abolition of the KNRC Premier class which was replaced by the existing Division One class.
He said Rally Raid cars (T1 and T5) will now be allowed to enter the KNRC.
“The 2021 season has been a great success. We have been able to incorporate tarmac racing into its calendar by introducing the Motorkhana to Kenya for the first time. These are actually the first awards to feature tarmac events. ‘Automotive (FIA) has awarded Kenya the two-star environmental accreditation based on audit information from the 2021 WRC Safari Rally.