After almost a month’s lull since the conclusion of the WRC Rally Sweden in Umeå, Västerbotten County, FIA Junior WRC star Hamza Anwar is back in the saddle for the weekend’s ARC Equator Rally in Voi.
The reigning African Rally Championship (ARC) Junior Champion returns to the bucket seat of an M-Sport Poland prepared Ford Fiesta Rally3 car alongside Kenya National Rally Championship leader Jeremiah Wahome and last year’s Junior WRC contender and ARC3 Champion McRae Kimathi.
Also in the Voi mix is the reigning ARC 4 Champion Rio Smith who has entered a Ford Fiesta Rally4, the only one of its kind on Kenyan soil.
The Ford Fiesta Rally3 car to be driven by Hamza, Wahome and Kimathi is three steps below in the FIA Rally Pyramid after World Rally hybrid car (Rally 1) and the Rally 2 (the former R5 car).
Rio’s Rally 4 machine is the “performance” version of the 2WD contraption which is a step ahead of Rally5, classified under “access” in the Rally Pyramid.
Jeremiah hopes to replicate his KNRC 1 RSC Machakos Rally form where he registered his career first victory in the Rally3 Fiesta.
During the Equator Rally in 2021, Jeremy checked out early out of Naivasha’s Service and the mistake cost him what would have counted as his career best second then.
Hamza anticipates returning to the bucket seat of his Rally 3 Ford Fiesta, which is a similar car he is piloting in the FIA Junior WRC.
He will be back in Voi three months after retiring in the 2022 KNRC season-closing Guru Nanak Rally where he drove his Mitsubishi Evolution X car under the watchful eye of his dad Asad Anwar.
Hamza is currently enjoying the lengthy two-month Junior WRC break after which he will embark on the WRC Croatia Rally on the weekend of 20-23-April.
He will also partake in the third round of Junior WRC (Rally Italia Sardegna 1-4 June), WRC Rally Estonia (20-23 July) before wrapping up his 6-rally campaign with WRC EKO Acropolis Rally Greece (7-10 September).
McRae is expected to strategise accordingly with his navigator Mwangi Kioni for a good result after finishing second overall in the season opening Machakos Rally.
Jeremiah, a product of the Kenya National Karting Championship as well as Formula 4 and 3 in Europe and Asia hopes to carry on the momentum from Machakos to the ARC Equator Rally which will count towards the second round of the FIA ARC.
The first round of the continental series, the Rallye Bandama of Ivory Coast, took place in February minus the Kenyan crews.
Other drivers expected in Voi this weekend is last year’s ARC runner up Karan Patel who kickstarts his season behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta Rally 3.
Baldev Chager is also making a comeback in a Subaru N12. Stages for the event will be centered on the expansive Taita Sisal Estate in Mwatate with a two-day total transport distance of 421.08 km and a Competitive mileage of approximately 205.25kms. The event will feature two legs with a total of 10 Competitive Stages.