Kenyan driver faces Safari Rally ejection after breaching tyre rules

Andrew Muiruri and his navigator Edward Njoroge during a past rally. Photo: The Star

Kenyan driver faces Safari Rally ejection after breaching tyre rules

Joel Omotto 19:16 - 29.03.2024

The local rally ace faces potential ejection from the ongoing WRC Safari Rally after violating WRC rules relating to the use of tyres at the global event.

Kenyan driver Andrew Muiruri faces potential ejection from the ongoing WRC Safari Rally in Kenya after receiving a €500 (Ksh71,000) fine from the FIA for possessing tyres not approved by the world motorsport governing body.

Muiruri and his co-driver, Edward Njoroge, and driving car No38, were found with two spare tyres produced by Dunlop, in violation of FIA regulations which mandate the use of Pirelli tyres, the exclusive tyre partner.

The fine, amounting to Ksh71,000, must be paid within 48 hours to avoid expulsion from the rally.

“The team manager Mr Asad Anwar admitted that it was the team’s fault and that they forgot to check the spare tyres before the start of the rally. Mr Andrew Muiruri added that these tyres were not used in SS1- Super Special Kasarani and on the road section to TC1A,” read part of the ruling.

“The stewards consider that it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure throughout the competition that all tyres used are from the FIA nominated tyre company, which in this case is Pirelli.

“Although the spares in question were not actually used either in the road section or in the special stage, there is still a breach of the regulations. For these reasons, the Stewards find the above fine to be appropriate in this case.”

Muiruri, who is driving an Mitsubishi Evolution X, is among the eight-man contingent of Kenyan drivers at the prestigious event with former Kenyan champions Carl “Flash” Tundo and Karan Patel leading the charge.

The others are Mitsubishi Evolution X duo of Nikhil Sachania and Minesh Rathod, Skoda Fabia Evo’s Aakif Virani and Hamza Anwar of the Ford Fiesta Rally 3 marques.

Alongside them is Kenya National Rally leader Samaan Singh Vohra, who is tackling the event behind the wheels of a Skoda Fabia Evo, navigated by Alfir Khan.

Muiruri is the second driver to be penalised at the Safari Rally after Swedish-born Skoda driver Oliver Solberg, the frontrunner in the WRC2 class, faced a €2,000 (equivalent Ksh284,000) suspension fine after a video surfaced on his Instagram account that contravened rally regulations on Thursday.

The contention arose from a clip posted during the reconnaissance phase, depicting what seemed to be Solberg filming with a mobile device while driving.

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