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Sachania itching for success at 2023 WRC Safari Rally

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Nikhil Sachania
  • Sachania is the only differently abled driver in the Safari
  • Sachania has received support from FIA’s Disability and Accessibility Commission
  • The Safari Rally is scheduled for June 22-25

The creation of the FIA’s Disability and Accessibility Commission has changed what it means to be a disabled person in motorsport.

And this satisfactorily informs the reason why Kenya’s number one paraplegic driver Nikhil Sachania continues to scale the heights of racing with zest and vigor.

Nikhil, who is signed up for the June 22-25 WRC Safari Rally Kenya, is grateful for the support he has received from KCB Bank and FIA’s Disability and Accessibility Commission: “The FIA grant was given to me in 2020, which included the fuel tank, fire suppression kit and overalls and I am still using them.”

“The fuel tank is a certified FIA tank and has been a very big boost for my Safari aspirations from 2021 when I first participated in a WRC event. It is great to have the FIA support and promote disabled drivers across the globe,” added Nikhil.

The second generation driver (son of Dinesh Sachania) returns to “fesh fesh” racing world of Naivasha behind the wheel of a modified, hand-controlled Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X marque.

Three-Car Outfit

Together with his able-bodied partner Deep Patel, the duo will represent a star-studded three-car KCB Bank Racing outfit alongside current Kenya Champions Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan(Ford Fiesta Rally 2) and Evans Kavisi/Absalom Aswani (Mitsubishi Lancer EvoX).

“KCB supported our racing campaign on the 2022 Safari and part of the drive in the 2022 KNRC season. It is great to have their support again in 2023. Now we are able to procure quality spare parts, tyres- and indeed- savor the incredible exposure of gracing the fabled event.”

“Safari preparations have run meticulously well. Our technical team have stripped the car and are rebuilding it after our participation in Nakuru. My aim this year is to at least return the EVO back in the top 15,” Nikhil continued.

“The 2022 Safari was rough and tough, but we enjoyed every bit of it; posting a strong position in the National Category (4th) despite the gremlins we had to contend with on the last stage,” added Nikhil.

Hand Controls

Nikhil’s incredible racing story has inspired countless other youths to embrace Eliud Kipchoge’s popular notion that “no man is limitedin sport”.

After a quad practice accident at the age of 22, Nikhil’s life and outlook changed forever, but his uncanny knack for desirable limits sport never ceased.

His first race car (a Mitsubishi Challenger 3ltr V6) was acquired locally and built by his first co-driver Charan Singh.

“All my cars including the Fiat are hand-controlled. The operation is a simple push and pull lever mechanism- pull to accelerate and push to brake.”

In September 2011, Nikhil was involved in an accident in Athi River where he was testing his new quad bike with Shazar Anwar and Zane Young trying to get ready for his would-be first National event.

He hit a rock at high-speed and landed headfirst. The impact shattered his spine. But guess what? Nikhil’s deeply ingrained racing convictions will always bring him back to the bucket seat of his hand-controlled cars time and time again.

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