After surviving the demanding Meru terrain, Daren Miranda and his partner Wayne Fernandes hope to seal the 2019 Two Wheel Drive Championship during Saturday’s KCB Eldoret Rally.
The duo have entered a 2WD Subaru Impreza and are hoping to finish Western Kenya Motor Club organised event on a high.
Daren and his partner Wayne are currently placed third in Division 2, first in 2WD and 22nd overall in the KNRC standings.
They have already attained an unassailable lead in the Two Wheel Drive Championship but have to run one more event to meet the 80% threshold for Championship success as stipulated in the National Competition Rules (NCR
Daren ran the championship winning ex-Dennis Mwenda Toyota Sprinter GT last year and lost the 2WD Championship to Sarit Shah after missing out on Eldoret.
His navigator Fernandez went on to win the 2WD Championship after beating Sarit’s then partner Kigo Kareithi to the title.
Wayne Fernandes said: “It’s always a great pleasure being involved with my home rally; and this could not have come at a better time when we are planning to seal it in Eldoret Rally,.”
Daren who is going for his maiden title said: “He (Sarit) did all the 8 rallies and I managed only 6, but that’s rallying sometimes, couldn’t miss my brother’s wedding. This year we are leaving nothing to chance. Wayne is very excited to be back home where we missed out last season. Although the Two Wheel Drive class hasn’t received many entries this season we are glad that out title ambitions will now come to fruition,”
Daren who was brought up in an environment laden with cars, said, adding: “My dad is a mechanic, so I think I had the bug before I started crawling and more so when races ran at the old Embakasi racetrack. I also used to keenly follow the Safari those days and always wanted to be a rally driver,” Daren recalled with nostalgia. Daren’s first car was a Toyota Corolla GT (also called the Levin) which won him the 1600cc Championship in 2007.
“In my first full season (in 2017) I also achieved a 100% finish record. After that I drove a VW Golf GTI, Subaru Leone, Subaru Imreza GC3, Subaru N10 STI and am now driving a Toyota Sprinter previously used by Dennis Mwennda and Alex Lairangi.”
“I didn’t have much money when I started rallying so had to make do with the little resources I had. My family and friends nevertheless helped me realise my dream though. With a shoestring budget I was able to win a championship in my first season of rallying.”
Asked about his experience in 2018, Daren went on: “I’d say it was good considering I did 6 out of the 8 events. The first one I did in the N10 so I didn’t score any points in 2WD. I then went back to my 2WD car from the second event and managed to win the Safari Rally in my class, which was in itself a dream come true. I also won Nanyuki and Guru Nanak. I ended up missing Eldoret rally because it coincided with my brother’s wedding day.”
Daren would love to move into classics. “As I get older, I also want an older car.. They’re a lot of fun to drive.”
Asking Daren’s partner Fernandez how the rally-sport dream started, he remarked: “My passion for the rally sport developed at a very young age. My late dad (Tony Fernandes,) was a rally driver. In 1988 and 1989 in Eldoret he won the WKMC D.T. Dobbie drivers championship in a Toyota KE70, and in 1990 navigated in a Toyota Hilux and finished second in the championship. He later taught me to navigate for him during route openings and we also did time controls then for WRC Safari Rally events during Easter at Flouspar and Kapenguria.”
Wayne met Daren in 1998 at a family wedding. “We became family friends, and when Daren started rallying I would assist in taking his car for scruteneering, so ingrained was our love for the sport,” said Fernandez in finality.