All set for Lioness Rally on Sunday

Friday, March 25th, 2022 00:23 | By
Lioness All Women Rally drivers and navigators pose for a group photo yesterday at the Moi International Sports Center (MISC), Rally Track, Nairobi.

A total of 10 all-female crews will be battling it out for the top prize during the inaugural rally competition dubbed ‘Lioness Rally’ happens at Kasarani on Sunday.

The disclosure was made yesterday by Lisa Christoffersen, the brainchild of the Lioness Rally’ who further revealed that it has taken over nine months to actualize the plan that will see motorsport in Kenya chart a new path.

“Lionesses as a group begun to coalesce during the rally in Naivasha nine months ago. Suddenly we realized that there was a group of ladies jumping up and down,” Lisa explained of how the idea was born during a media briefing at Kasarani yesterday.

Lisa, who will be navigated by Lilian Onduko, an investment professional, has Danish roots and has been living in Kenya since 1988 says women’s motorsport in the country has had a limited focus with rally drivers competing intermittently in events.

“Kenyan women have had little access to motorsport, nor indeed featured often in its history,” she said. A rally driver herself, Lisa was inspired by her father who was a safari rally driver in Tanzania. The idea for an all-female crew rally has been in the pipeline for a while but gathered pace in 2021.

Reconnaissance, scrutineering and Recce will be setting the mood for Sunday with a the drivers and navigators set to undergo the safety procedure and inspection on Saturday before the ladies will take part in a tree planting exercise where over 1000 trees will be planted.

Jennifer Malik, despite not possessing a wealth of experience in motorsport is looking forward to a perfect debut on Sunday. The sister of Kakamega County senator Cleophas Malala will be navigated by Qui Muigai.

“This will be a milestone for female motorsport, we can’t wait for the entertainment and the show that will be on offer on Sunday. I want to thank all the sponsors for coming on board to walk with us,” said Malik.

Pauline Shegu, a media personality and who has been behind the wheel for more than a decade too can’t wait for action on Sunday.

“I am delighted for the child that will be born on Sunday, to get here it has taken alot of sacrifices,” said Shegu who made history in 2011 finishing eighth in the Group N category at the Safari Rally.

Shegu will be navigated by Mitchelle Chao Mtwanguo, the vice-chair of the Lioness Rally Club who is a geospatial engineer by profession.

Meanwhile, Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) has pledged to sponsor this first ever all-female rally event. 

Speaking on the sponsorship Whitecap Marketing Manager Catherine Ndung’u underscored KBL support for the women rally and agenda on sensitisation of gender sensitivity in Motorsports. 

The historic race will also be a family affair when Caroline Gatimu competes with her 17-year old daughter TInashe Gatimu. Caroline has been competing in motorsport for 12 years and made her debut in a 4 by 4 event as a navigator. In 2015, she took a break and made a return this year. 

“I took a sabbatical until March 20 when I took part in the autocross event,” she revealed.

Tinashe competed at the same event where she finished fifth in the 2-wheel drive non-turbo class. The Gatimus will be competing in a Toyota Levin.

Natasha Tundo who  has a wealth of experience in motorsport will also be j. action. The sister of Kenyan rally ace Carl “Flash” Tundo will be navigated by Chantal Young.  Chantal triumphed in the classic championship in her first year of rallying and was the highest placed female navigator.

Maxine Wahome will be teaming up with seasoned Safina Khan.

Kiana Rajput will be the youngest female driver in Sunday’s race. The student will be turning 10-years old in April and is the 2021 peewee champion.  She will be navigated by Ishy Renu.

More on Sports