Rally driver Karan Patel was today crowned the LG/ SJAK Sports Personality of the Month of November.
The Nairobi-based rally driver, also a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, achieved this feat after securing his maiden FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) in Tanzania last month.
This marks Karan’s second SPOM award, following his first in October 2022, the same year he clinched his maiden Kenya National Rally Championship title.
Karan has since swept the ground with all his opponents over the last two seasons finishing second overall to Zambian Leroy Gomes in the 2022 ARC season and indeed beating Uganda’s Jas Mangat to the title on homestretch in the prestigious Rally of Tanzania in November 2023.
To win the November silverware, Karan aka “KP” beat several other nominees in other disciplines including Kenya’s highest-ranked golfer Michael Karanga of Kiambu Golf Club and 58-year old athlete Priscillah Biwott who won a gold medal in the women 5000m at the 14th Africa Masters Athletics Championships in Pretoria, South Africa. Karanga made it to the nomination list for breaking a 23-year-old course record as he won the prestigious Manchester Salver tournament at the Eldoret Golf Club, in the same month he finished second while playing against 30 professional golfers and 40 amateurs at a Pro Am competition at Kiambu Golf Club.
Behind the veneer of calm and assuredness displayed by Karan and his partner Tauseef throughout the 2023 ARC season lay an undercurrent of excitement that erupted into a joyous stream during the prize-giving ceremony in Sao Hill Mafinga, Iringa where the dust finally settled on continental series.
Patel, adorned with the Red Bull athlete distinction, joined the prestigious ranks of Kenyan drivers who got their mitts on the FIA ARC title including the likes of Shekhar Mehta, David Horsey, Jaspreet Singh Chatthe, Don Smith, Manvir Baryan and Carl Tundo.
“Winning the FIA African Rally Championship is the realization of a lifelong dream. It’s an honor to be mentioned alongside the legends of Kenyan rallying and also winning my second Sports personality of the month award. Tauseef (Khan) and I put in tireless effort to reach this milestone, and I am immensely grateful for the unwavering support we have received,” said Karan Patel.
For the November victory, Patel was awarded an LG washing machine valued at Sh 101,000.
A masterclass in skill and strategic finesse, Patel and Khan navigated their way to a second-place finish in Tanzania, where they had backed off from their traditional “fast and furious” antics to shirk from any unnecessary risks thus winning the continental championship title on a season-closer while also becoming the first Kenyan pair to achieve this remarkable feat in a Ford marque.
Ascending through the ranks, Karan and Tauseef secured victories in Rwanda, Kenya (Equator), Burundi, and Zambia.
However, the Kenyan pair opted to bypass the Bandama Rallye and Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally, requiring them to embark on a catch-up journey to grasp the coveted title that slipped through their fingers to Zambian Gomes in the previous season.
The 2023 FIA ARC season unfolded across a seven-round calendar, spanning seven countries, showcasing the resilience of the rallying community after two tumultuous years marked by disruptions caused by the global health pandemic.
LG Electronics EA Marketing Director, Changh-Yun Kim congratulated Karan for his title success, adding: “SJAK has always been a fantastic partner, and we are very pleased to be rewarding excellence across all sports in the country. We look forward to further developing our relationship with the sports scribes in whipping up the enthusiasm of our distinguished sportsmen and women across all corners of the country.”
SJAK treasurer Mukami Wambora on her part remarked: “Over the last eight years, LG has consistently supported sports in the country, on and off the pitch. Last month, we honored a dedicated athlete, Pastor Elizabeth Jepchirchir from Iten, for her passion in athletics and her moral support for athletes. Together, we share an ambition to recognize individuals at all levels and ensure everyone can enjoy sports at the grassroots.”