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February 23, 2019

Varese savors maiden Safari title

Defending 2WD champion Leonardo Varese./FILE
Defending 2WD champion Leonardo Varese./FILE

After 10 years of rallying and a tenth Safari attempt, Sportpesa Rally Team of Leonardo Varese and Kigondu Kareithi finally laid their hands on the coveted Safari Rally title when the dust settled on the FIA African Rally Championship event at Afraha Stadium on Saturday.

Varese and his partner Kareithi won the Two Wheel Drive category after steering their ex-David Horsey Toyota Corolla RSI to the finish.

The duo have finished second thrice and had a few disappointing outings in the world's famous Safari.

"It has not quite sank in yet. We have finally won the Safari title in 2WD class finishing 27th overall in the process. This was our 15th career class win but without a doubt the most prestigious of them all. What a start to the season, all this would not have been possible without our sponsors Sportpesa and my navigator Kareithi for calling perfect notes in some very technical stages. I wish to also thank our team of Munir Khan,James Maregwa Mutungu and Hussein Malik," Varese who is a multiple former two wheel champion said.

Navigator Kigondu was all smiles after the victory.

"We managed to finish top in our class, after 10 years of trying. Thanks to everybody who has encouraged and helped us along the way. Having done approximately 800Km in four days, two of recce and two of actual rally the body feels close to a shutdown. One is humbled to remember that not long ago the same event took place over five days and covered 5000Km. Wow! Hats off to those who came before us."

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