Steep Learning Curve: Fernandes Gears Up For KCB Ramisi Rally

Newcomer John Fernandes says the mixed fortunes he has experienced in his first two Kenya National Rally Championship events in Voi and Machakos have revealed the challenges he faces in his rookie season.

Fernandes will be tackling his third career event in Ramisi this Saturday, navigated by Nique Rattos in an ex-Daren Miranda 2.5L Subaru Impreza 2WD machine.

The KCB Ramisi Rally will count towards the sixth round of the KNRC after Nakuru, ARC Equator, WRC Safari, Machakos and Voi rallies.

It will be organized by Mombasa Motor Club (MMC) at the KISCOL Sugar farm in South Coast’s Ramisi. The start and finish of the event will be centred on KISCOL. The event will feature a competitive mileage of 151km and a further transport road section of about 100km.

Team Goa duo has been preparing their car at the Pac Express Workshop in Westlands 

“Being our first rally, you always have a lot to learn and a lot to develop on the car. So we are using it more as a season to test and try and finish as many rallies as possible rather than trying to compete at a higher level,” said Fernandes 

Fernandes’ Subaru is also an entry level vehicle and eligible for the Two Wheel Drive Class.

“our car is not as powerful as other vehicles. So we need to learn how to drive it,” Fernandes said.

Fernandes and Rattois joined the 'man and machine' sport this season after the conclusion of the iconic WRC Safari Rally. But because of Covid-19, the duo couldn’t partake in the first two rallies of the season. 

“So we came in and started with the Voi Rally. We actually finished in Voi which was a long rally and a good experience for us. Our second event in Machakos, we were not able to finish as we hit a rock,” Fernandes said, adding: “Ramisi for us is a very different experience being down in the Coast. The essence for us is to drive sensibly and finish in a respectable position. It will be a lot more technical for us. We are going to prepare our notes better, go through them better and also we are going to try and go flat out but also be very cautious when it comes to the corners and the double/triple cautions or anything that could potentially break the car."

Navigator Rattos sounded quite enthusiastic about Ramisi and here is what he had to say: “It’s been a steep learning curve when it comes to calling notes and we seem to be jelling better more than when we started in our initial Voi. stages. We are coming out strongly so far. We did not expect much from the Voi leg but, surprisingly ,we finished the event, In the beginning I didn’t understand the notes but as time went by, I got to understand the notes and roads better and everything seems to have fallen into place.”

Sports Sep 13, 2021