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August 2011 Issue No.10

Ksh 200 Ush 4,000 Tsh 2,500

All the news, races, the cars, the drives @

Mazda RX-8

How many cars can offer four full-size seats, a substantial boot, serious performance and sports car handling ?

Bike Review Your 9-second Street bike has arrived!




Performance Nissan Skyline R34 GTR V-Spec


Motorsport Ponsiano for Podium as ‘God decides this Pearl Winner’


6 164001 538000 >


Drive in Style


Wide Range Of Cars For Selection


Railways HQ, Workshop Road Email: Tel: 020-2218915, 316384 Our Sales Team 0722-405 793 0723-447 945 0722-366 680 0721-218 186


All the news, races, the cars, the drives @



Local News Shared transport: the myriad benefits? Page 6-9 New Car Review We have a look at the new Nissan X-trail and what’s new about it. Page 12-13




Cover Story The new Mazda RX-8 . Page 14-17 Ask the Mech Exhausts; what to look for Page 18-19 Used Car Review Trying out the Mercedes E-class Page 20-21 Performance Nissan Skyline R34 GTR V-Spec Page 26-30


FEATURES Motor Sports Rally, Motor cross and the highlights Page 33-43

Interviews Lets Talk Pace Notes with Mangat Page 38-39 Book and Movie Review Get to read and watch whats new in the market Page 44-45

Feedback Reviews

Tech Toys

I was wondering if you could have bike reviews. We want to know what’s new in the market. Jimmy Wanjau via E-mail

Love the new gadgets. Where can we find them? Amit via Facebook.

That’s a great point Jimmy. We have done something on bikes in this issue. Please check it out. Editor.

Well thanks Amit. Your point has been noted and we will do something about that. Editor

Ask The Mech Thanks for the tips to look at when buying a car. It really helped me Gideon via E-mail Thanks Gideon. Editor.

Write to us: Motor Trader P.O Box: 21824, 00400 Email:

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Performance I am a frequent reader of MotorTrader. I want to do some mods on my car. Was hoping you would give us tips. Nga’nga via Facebook Well thanks Nga’nga. We have put up a performance section which addresses such issues, and we will have a feature every month of a different car Editor.

CAPTION CONTEST Catherine Wangui of Embakasi was the winner of last issue’s caption contest. Her caption: Don’t park your big junk here. Think you can do better than that on this month’s photo? Send us your caption. If it comes out tops , we’ll reward you with Ksh2,000. Email: or text: 0738-135889; 0718223838


Motor Trader Co. Ltd. P.O. Box 21824, 00400 Tel. 020 8079558/9 Mobile: 0718223838 Nairobi


Joseph Murai

Sub-Editor: Muroki Gititu

HR & Administration:

Abdallah Basweti

Sales and Marketing:

Gideon Korir John Karugiah

This MONTH In this edition, read about the all new Mazda Rx8, The RX-8’s formula of four adultsized seats, rear-hinged ‘free-style’ doors, a large boot and a 1.3-litre rotary engine may remain unaltered but in tidying up the cabin, boosting the equipment levels and making the styling a touch more aggressive. This edition also gives you all details about the new Nissan X-Trail , it has always had style on its side in the battle to win sales from the other SUV’s around at its price point. The question is, what new features does it bring along and what makes it unique compared with its counterparts? In Motor Sport we take a look at KCB Pearl of africa Rally in Uganda, and talk to Magana. Lastly, we have the book and movie review. In the book, equip yourself with the basic motorcycling safety. Have you watched “Cars2?”. Watch it, it might be better than Fast5. Enjoy!

Marketing Manager:

Susan Njuguna

Art & Layout:

Motor Trader Ltd


Motor Trader Ltd


Jetsam Distributors Ltd Motor Trader magazine©, the original motoring magazine in Kenya, is published monthly by Motor Trader and distributed in Kenya by Jetsam Distributors Ltd. While utmost care will be taken to ensure accuracy both in the published articles and prices of listed cars and equipment, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any omissions and errors arising. The opinions and representations in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to verify the authenticity/safety of the products/services advertised herein by independently contracting the adviser. No part of this publication including artworks and pictures or any part of the contents (articles) thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the publisher in writing.

Joseph Murai

What we’re up to this Month! This month is special. We are heading off-road with the old-school prado diesel.


If you’re not in Motor Trader, you are losing out big time Photo: Susan Njuguna Marketing Manager About Us MotorTrader is an all inclusive motoring magazine published monthly by Motor Trader Ltd. It provides news, reviews and an interactive and marketing platform for all matters regarding the automotive industry in Kenya. The magazine occupies a unique and dynamic position in the industry and aims to stimulate demand, strengthen branding and increase product awareness in the motor vehicle industry and allied sectors. We provide rich and educative content to motor vehicle enthusiasts as well as a platform for players in the motor vehicle industry to interact with their potential clients. The magazine is a forum for our readers to share motoring ideas and a spring of knowledge of what is taking place as well as what is expected in the motoring world. Their questions are answered by experts specialized on the specific automobile areas leaving them all the wiser. Content Our content covers every aspect of the local motor vehicle industry. Though industry-focused, it is also customer-oriented in that it’s structured to address the pertinent issues of the day. In a nutshell, it includes: .News (updates) in the motor vehicle

industry .New car reviews .Used car reviews .Industry New Products &Services .Insurance .Finance & Investment .Hotels Advertisements There are two ways through which you can advertise your products in Motor Trader: Displays and editorial write ups. We also run advertisers’ announcements as the advertiser desires. Advertisers also take advantage of the many supplements we run, to advertise their products when the said products tally with the subject of the supplement. MotorTrader is the ideal vehicle for the whole motor vehicle industry to advertise its products. The corporate motor vehicle sector will benefit a lot from our wide empowered readership who are discernful of quality and value. The motor bazaars, motor garages and spare parts dealers will find a home in MotorTrader. The financial sector too, including both the formal banks, investment banks micro-finance institutions, pension schemes, retirement funds, insurance sector, name it;MotorTrader will resonate with you because we reach out to all your clients. We are in the thick of things as far as motorsport in the country and beyond is 6

August 2011

concerned. Motorsport has become a popular sport in the country with an event every now and then. Drivers and motorsport enthusiasts from all over the world grace these events. Of course they will need accommodation and other hospitality needs. If your business is in the hospitality sector MotorTrader is your umbilical cord to the world of motorsport. Get your business advertised in the magazine and you can relax. The returns will speak for themselves. MotorTrader also has an online edition and thus its reach is even more enhanced. Circulation In addition to the online edition, we currently have a print run of 5,000 copies circulated throughout the country by a distributor. The magazine is available in all major supermarket chains, petrol stations, street vendors, major spare parts shops and convenience stores. Besides, the magazine is also backed by web-based interactive forums (Face book, Twitter and You Tube), where we have an additional 5,000 subscribers. For more information please contact


Shared transport: the myriad benefits


By Muroki Gititu

he shooting to the roof of fuel prices in the last three months has left most motorists wondering whether it will be possible to drive around in their vehicles any more. With Super petrol heading to Ksh 120 a litre at the pumps and diesel averaging at Ksh 115, it is nothing short of a situation gone haywire. And it is not only vehicle owners that have been hard hit. Commuters that have always been at the mercy of Passenger Service Vehicle (PSV) crews, are suffering beyond measure as the latter have a field day hiking fares to the moon as they know that they hold all the four aces. Prior to this, the slightest of a shower or a traffic jam – phenomena that the long suffering passengers had nothing to do with - saw the crews doubling or even tripling the fares, what of the current situation where they will only be too happy to point to the fuel prices that have run amok? Those motorists who will drive to the city having jumped the fuel hurdle will then be confronted with another menace: the Nairobi City Council Parking attendant who is working for a city authority seemingly out to dredge out his last cent in parking fees whatever the circumstances. You don’t need any reminder what will become of your vehicle if you don’t pay for the parking ticket. At Ksh 140 a day (remember the Council had hit an all-time high of Ksh 300 complete with tickets printed but had to lower the charge after a public outcry that included being taken to court) and yet it is still a struggle to get these parking spaces, the operation costs of a car are getting on the higher side day by day.

Since we live in communities and probably in the same estates or in neighbouring ones, we can cut costs on motoring and enhance our friendship/ neighbouriness by sharing transport. What we need to do is to find out how many of us work in close proximity of each other, our reporting time to work and the time we clock out. If we harmonise these, then we can decide to use Mr and Mrs Ondiek’s vehicle for week A, Ms Thairu’s for week B, and Mr and Mrs Kimanzi’s for week C. Each owner will be responsible for the running costs of their vehicle during their turn. What this means is that we will save two sets of expenses that would have gone into the running of the two vehicles that are not being used in any particular week. Relationships are also being cemented as the participants in these arrangements are getting to know each other better as they interact in a much deeper sense as opposed to the cursory ‘How are yous?’ most common in the estates. The same arrangements could be extended to taking our children to school. Instead of having a whole fleet of cars from one estate or two neighbouring estates trooping out every morning and coming in every evening probably with one kid each and the parents, the latter could work out an arrangement where there should be a schedule where a vehicle is allocated a week to take the children to school and pick them up. Of course the proximity of the schools to each other is an important factor to consider. This way, the families will bond even better with the children finding playmates August 2011 7

and comparing notes and ideas from school. And of course there is the inevitable saving on the operational costs of the vehicles. Something else that such arrangements might teach those willing to take them on is discipline and teamwork. Each member will know that failure to adhere to the agreed schedule will disrupt other people’s plans and this will rid them off selfish behaviour. This could lead the parties to being more empathetic with other people’s situations and see them offering a more sympathetic ear and attitude not just to members of the circle but to the general public. Wouldn’t this be a positive character change? There are those who could argue that such would be an interference of privacy for which the motorists acquired the vehicles in the first place. But this is not quite the case. We are talking of people who live in the same estates or in neighbouring ones and work in close proximity. Their children know each other. They are acquaintances in the first place and the arrangements we are advocating are the kind that could see them even prosper further. Their private lives will not be interfered with per se. They have the evenings after work to themselves as well as the weekends. And as they interact during the opportunities offered by these arrangements they are also talking of development issues and how they can advance themselves. After all, unity is strength.


Staggering work times could unlock traffic jams


By Muroki Gititu

he gridlock caused every morning and evening as Kenyans rush in and out of the various metropolises for work and other human endeavours always leaves one with one or two unanswered questions: “Is it the infrastructural planning that is the major problem? What is/ are the possible solutions?” Nairobi, the capital city, presents the worst case scenario. The tales motorists and workers tell of the time they have to leave their houses in South B, Umoja, Githurai, Kikuyu, Ngong, Langata, Kiserian etc, to make it on time at their places of work are harrowing. I have boarded a matatu from Westlands three kilometres to the city centre which took me an hour. Reason? We were caught up in a traffic gridlock. This scenario is replicated every morning and evening in all routes. The ill-mannered drivers have a field day as they try all kinds of tricks to overtake, including this new term – overlapping - causing even more temper flare-ups. The number of hours lost, the fuel burnt as thousands of vehicles’ engines just idle, run into billions of shillings. Something just has to be done to correct this scenario. What is the point of leaving one’s place of

work at 5 P.M only to get home in Kikuyu,a mere 20 km away , at 8.30 P.M? Although the infrastructure is being worked on that will decongest the highway, there is a way that could supplement this and make the whole process more efficient. Stakeholders need to come together and work out a programme of staggering the time their staff report to work and leave. The rule that reporting time must be 8 A.M and leaving time 5 P.M is not cast in stone. And with the country headed to a 24-hour economy, the corporate world should look seriously at the proposal where so many corporates have their employees reporting as early as 6.30 A.M and clocking off eight hours later at 3.30 P.M. Another lot would get in at 7.30 A.M and clock out at 4.30 P.M while yet another would do so at 8.30 A.M and close shop at 5.30 P.M. There would be nothing to stop yet another lot to clock in at 9.30 A.M and leave at 6.30 P.M and so forth and so forth. Staggering the reporting and 8

August 2011

closing time by an hour would mean the whole country would not be rushing for inadequate transport at the same time to be in offices at 8 o’clock. Motorists would not be revving like mad in our narrow roads in a rush be at their desks at the sacred 8 A.M. Schools could do likewise. Who says all schools must start their day at the same time? If Jadini Primary School starts its lessons at 8.00 A.M while Luther Primary School starts theirs at 8.30 A.M but ends half an hour after Jadini, wouldn’t it have covered the same distance curriculum wise? Such a move would result in a lot of order and calmness on our roads. The term ‘rush hour’ would be consigned into the dustbins of history. When workers are calm, they are more settled and efficient thus more productive. And isn’t every employer and the country at large looking for more productivity to lift the economy out of the doldrums and onto to higher heights?


List your vehicles Absolutely Free


“Girls Only”



ost women will agree with me that there’s no such thing as comfortably navigating through daytime traffic in Nairobi. If you do so without as much as a scratch or paying a fine, then one deserves some sort of recognition as this is no mean feat.

since the car no longer knows home seeing as the roads change over-night? The Men-in-Blue have also all of a sudden become immune to the female wiles and smiles. Previously, a lady just had to act like an air-head and smile, but now they are very keen on nabbing female drivers as statistics show they are easier to frighten with clamping or court. If the worst comes to the worst, financial assistance is only a phone call away anyway. Ladies,learn from my mistakes. Do not cross the red light outside the ICEA Building along Kenyatta Avenue on the inner lane, even if there are no cars and Nairobi is a ghost-town, just across it is a chap ready to make 2,000 bob from you. Do not overlap along State-Hse Rd, you know, between YMCA and University Way no matter how much of a hurry you are in or how tempting it is. A certain John Doe makes a killing from this place. Practice patience and wait.

China Wu Yi and its affiliates (the contractor working on the said Thika Rd Superhighway) is making life difficult for most of us. We now have to put our A-game on, stepping on the fuel pedal and braking is no longer enough. One must know how to drive through pot-holes the size of your car: how to drive 2mm away from the next driver who in most cases is a matatu driver who went to ‘The Hard-Knocks Driving School’: How to discard all the road knowledge learnt in school and drive on the wrong side and most importantly, how to make the car-horn your new best-friend, use it liberally. In short, driving by the rule-book will get you killed. Are they by any chance in collaboration with Mututho to make drinking and driving past tense 10 August 2011


As you well know, never will a sane Nairobi woman give you way willingly, we have to prove that we are macho and we cannot be bullied around. On the road is our virtual Feminism 101.The fact that makes male drivers – especially matatu drivers and the Kamaus and Mainas in their Toyotas - think that when a woman is in the driver’s seat they will bully them even if there was no traffic or reason to, even makes us more determined to be mean. Just because a lady is driving a Vitz, Runx, Allex and others in the same family, it by no means makes her less of a driver or her car less of one at that. Not every woman driving the said car got it as a gift from her ‘godfather’. So quit shoving them off the road and making undercut comments “sasa unaringa na gari umenunuliwa”, “Naeza kukasirika nikuje niinue iyo gari yako niitupe kwa side-walk” or “ mtoto awache wazazi wapite”. Seriously, is there a secret club where men sit down and come up with these phrases?

Toyota Alphard 04

Smart view: How the new AMG compares with the rest! The Alphard was produced by Toyota in 2002 to compete against the Nissan Elgrand and Honda Elysion

If the recent fuel-shortage is anything to go by, diamonds will cease to be a woman’s best friend and a plastic jerrycan hastily rise to position one. A lady by all means leaves from point A to B, her fuel gauge blinking but based on past experience, she knows there’s semi-sufficient fuel , she’s a diva, and she’s managed enough times. Either way, money is not an issue so she will top-up along the way if she must. Shock on her, the traffic starts at her doorstep/ office gate and slowly winds in the horizon. As if on cue, after 15min of traffic, the fuel-gauge lights up more passionately as if to warn her of the fate that awaits her. At the nearest petrol station, the queue is more than impressive; you’d think it’s the usual one for those Pizza BOGOFF’s (Buy one get one free) Kenyans cannot get enough of. She’s unfazed; she knows a short-cut to another equally good fuel-station. Slowly she moves off and as if the car has a mind of its own, it jerks once, twice and with a loud puff, stops right there in the middle of the road, 500m from fuel. What to do but cringe! Our diva turns the ignition once, twice…nothing. So, she gracefully disembarks in her above-the-knee power suit and six inch heels (these things never happen when you have practical attire like Tshirt and jeans) and pretends to open the bonnet. This is funny every time; the rest of the road users know “hakuna ngata” but she busily fiddles with knobs and what-

knots, none of which she has ever seen before and curses at the bonnet, slams it shut and pretends to call someone. My friend, cut out the drama and just do the walk of shame to the fuel-pump. Then they make people carry a can in either red/yellow with a big label PETROL as if the whole experience of having to explain what happened in a miniskirt is not torturous enough!!Eventually she gets home for all the concerned parties out there. Ladies, remember, carry a plastic jerry-can, practical shoes and your hazard at all times in your boot. You never know when fate might strike. The next time you meet a woman driving ,show her a little respect, do not hoot unnecessarily at intersections into the highway, give her time to park and don’t bully her off the road. Safe driving.

Photo: Phantom of Rolls Royce is mixed with 120Kg of solid 18ct gold

“Girls Only”

Gold Rolls Royce Comes with 120kg of Solid Gold Finishes Since Rolls Royce appeared on the market, a very reserved one should i say, it targeted the Jet set. Offering a higher level of finishes and a particular luxury in a refined way. The older British models are very similar to an old bottle of fine french wine. When opening a bottle of old wine there can be felt the same exquisite perfume of the years that passed by it and this is the kind of feeling experienced in a masterpiece made by Rolls Royce. The Rolls Royce Phantom according to some does not maintain the same “perfume” is its forefathers. But if the Phantom of Rolls Royce is mixed with 120Kg of solid 18ct gold the equation changes completely. The car has been modified by Stuart Hughes of Liverpool, UK. in collaboration with Eurocash AG of Zug Switzerland. The car has been a special order an took almost 18 months to manufacture. Eurocash AG Switzerland wanted the car specially made for “a client” so they decided to contact Stuart Hughes. Working as a team they were able to integrate the 120kg of solid 18kt gold into the cars interior and exterior keeping the “Spirit of Ecstasy” untouched. This “jewel” literally has been evaluated a an amazing $8.2 million. it is also bullet proof

What’s beneath the house on wheels?

ENGINE: It is available as a seven or eight-seater with 2.4 and 3.0 litre gasoline engines in 3 different model lines - Alphard G, Alphard V, and the Alphard Hybrid

DRIVE: Optional on all grades is a built-in electronic toll collection unit that allows for quick tollgate pass-through

August 2011 11

INTERIOR: 6 airbags, sunroof, knockdown seats, roomy inside, okay looking outside, steering wheel has audio control


Nissan X-trail


an Nissan’s latest X-TRAIL make family sense? Will it suit me? No one’s pretending anymore. Compact lifestyle 4x4s never go off-road. And if they ever did, it would have to be on something very easy. I know. I once tried to take a Nissan XTRAIL over a dirt trail and ended up damaging the exhaust. Just as I probably would have done with most of its Freelander/Honda CR-V/RAV4-style rivals. No, these are school run family estates. And they’re none the worse for that. Buyers like me love the elevated driving position, the chunky looks and the feeling that if we wanted to chase buffalos across the Serengeti, then we could. So where does all that leave Nissan’s latest X-TRAIL, a car I’ve been trying? Basically, it had to become more car-like if it was to meet the challenge being thrown at it by a host of new rivals. So Nissan has obliged. There’s more equipment, a smarter interior and, rather surprisingly, better off-road capability. Now there’s a turn-up.

by correspondent

Practicalities From the ground up, the current generation X-TRAIL is slightly larger than its predecessor: its wheelbase is larger and longer. Though this unfortunately doesn’t mean there are now seven seats, I was pleased to find that much of this extra length could be found in the luggage area, which has increased dramatically in size. With the rear seat in place, the original vehicle had a luggage area measurement of 410 litres up to the lower edge of the rear window: in this latest X-TRAIL, the equivalent figure is 603 litres, an

12 August 2011

increase of 193 litres (including double deck trunk capacity). Fold the rear seats forward and this increases to 1773 litres. Which is as much as I would ever need. One nice touch that I liked was the addition of an innovative double deck luggage area, with space for a sliding drawer under the floor where valuable items can be stored away from prying eyes. The drawer has partition walls that can be placed in a number of different positions or removed altogether as re-

INTL NEWS quired. The floor and the drawer can both be removed to increase load space even more. As a result, the luggage area of this X-TRAIL is deeper and wider than the original and, even with the false floor in place, virtually as tall. With it removed, luggage height is increased by 127mm over the original. This generation of X-TRAIL feels a lot smarter inside. The rather icky plastics of the first generation car have been replaced with more soft touch finishes, metallic highlights and tonnes of auxiliary storage space. Nissan claims an extra 50 litres of oddment stowage around the cabin with various bins, boxes cubby holes and cupholders never more than a few centime-


Nissan X-Trail ENGINE 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine 345Bhp

Performance 7.91/ 100km

TORQUE (EEC Nm) @rpm 450Nm

TRANSMISSION 5 speed automatic


tres away. It would have been thoughtful to have allowed the rear bench to slide to and fro, prioritising luggage or passenger space at will but perhaps that’s a job for the 2010 facelift. As it stands, there’s a rather neat 40/20/40 split system for the rear bench. As a second car for the family, even the cheapest X-TRAIL would be a pricey option, at over £20,000. However, unlike the majority of shopping hatches that sit in the drive all weekend, the Nissan would come into its own for family outings. The X-TRAIL looks good on paper next to its immediate rivals when it comes to standard equipment provision but then it always did. What’s particularly impressive this time round is that Nissan has integrated all the bells and whistles so well rather than appearing rather hasty bolt-ons. Even the entrylevel Acenta variant comes with Bluetooth phone integration, alloy wheels, full body coloured bumpers, climate controlled air conditioning, a full suite of airbags (driver, passenger, side and curtain), plus cruise control, a panoramic glass sunroof and a CD/radio with 4 speakers. The Tekna variant that many customers will choose adds leather, powered and heated seats, DVD satnav, a rear parking camera, xenon headlights and a BOSE sound system. Could I live with one? I might struggle to justify the premium being asked over a conventional spacious family estate. But then that comment applies to virtually every car in the compact 4x4 class. Viewed against its peers, this X-TRAIL stacks up well. If you’re looking for a car of this kind, it’s one you’ll need to consider.


August 2011 13

MEC Design Mercedes CLS 500 W219 Is Evil Black As the latest generation CLS is making its way through, the previous one still manages to get a lot of attention lately, mostly from aftermarket specialists. After Kicherer gave it a boost in styling and performance, the CLS 500 has just received a new modification package, with the kit now coming from MEC Design. This time, the package actually targets the car’s visual appearance mostly, while offering a few light technical modifications. No boost in the power output though. Getting to the point, the CLS 500 received a body kit that makes its appearance even meaner than the factory stock one as well as a stainless steel rear muffler that brings an aggressive sound to the game. The list of exterior enhancements starts with a set of modified bumpers, which include LED fog lights and day lights at the front along with an “Extreme” diffuser at the back plus new side skirts with LED, a three piece trunklid spoiler and a rear window spoiler. The package also comprises a 2010 style grille and LED mirror covers, plus a full matt black foil wrap for the vehicle’s body. Creating the physical and visual connection to the road are the 20-inch mecxtreme III in Full Matt Black finish. In addition, the MEC Design Mercedes CLS 500 is now featuring a lower center of gravity due to its new electronic lowering system module. Finally, despite the fact that the tuners did not release any interior pictures, what we do know - and we’ll have to take their word for it - is that a carbon/leather steering wheel and new floor mats have been used.


Mazda RX-8

by correspondent

The RX-8 has been a huge hit for Mazda. In ‘R3’ guise, it’s now been updated to keep it at the top of its game.

14 August 2011


August 2011 15

COVER STORY The RX-8’s formula of four adult-sized seats, rear-hinged ‘free-style’ doors, a large boot and a 1.3-litre rotary engine may remain unaltered but in tidying up the cabin, boosting the equipment levels and making the styling a touch more aggressive. Mazda has enabled the RX-8 to continue raking in big sales. The driving experience in this R3 version has been enhanced by faster steering, chassis and engine responses, plus greater refinement. Background Mazda’s position as ‘Europes’s favourite sports car brand’ (it takes 15per cent of the market), depends a great deal in the UK on the sales of this RX-8, which is something that you wouldn’t have predicted when it was launched in 2003. Back then, the market had healthy reservations about Japanese sports cars with rotary motors, despite Mazda’s 1991 success at Le Mans, defeating all-conquering Porsche with one. But the RX8, by and large, won the sceptics over. OK, it was thirsty, very thirsty I might add, but the maintenance issues for the rotary lump weren’t too onerous and the car was fast, good value and, best of all, that very rare thing, a genuine four-seater coupe. User-choosers with small families who’d missed out on the sports car thing in their twenties loved it. When it came to improving the car, it wasn’t too difficult to see what Mazda were going to do. Get rid of the low-powered version that hardly anyone bought, give it a sportier look, add in a few high-tech equipment features and make the car easier to live

with. Not a lot else needed changing. That’s what we’ve got with this R8 version. Driving Experience What hasn’t changed a great deal is the Mazda’s unique selling proposition, that 1.3-litre twin rotor RENESIS rotary engine. Quite unlike any other engine, the RX-8’s unit wheezes and sighs its way around the road network with the sound growing in intensity as you approach the redline. The latest car features variable red zone technology which limits revs from a cold start to protect the engine and

distance companion. Otherwise, it’s as you were with a grippy chassis complemented by the snappy gear change with its tiny palm-sized triangular shifter. The 0-62mph sprint is covered by the single 231PS model in a handy 6.4s and there’s a 146mph (240kph) top speed, so this is a serious performance car. Design and Build So what has Mazda done to the RX-8 in this mid life facelift? The front and rear bumpers and headlamps are revised and the rear lamps now feature twin circular LEDs. Bigger diameter exhaust pipes and a sharper five-spoke alloy wheel design now measuring 19 inches in diameter are also among the highlights. Drop inside and you’ll spot the redesigned instru-


allows full use of the car’s uniquely broad 9,000rpm rev-band when it’s fully warmed. Mazda engineers have stiffened the bodyshell in this latest car so that twisting and flexing are significantly reduced. At the same time, a revised steering and suspension set-up delivers a better level of steering feel than the rather anaesthetised set-up offered on the original model. Bilstein sports suspension should satisfy B-road blasters, while new damper, spring and suspension settings aim to make this a more comfortable long

Mazda RX-8 ENGINE 3.0 liter V6 , 1.3-litre rotary engine

Performance 0-100kph in 6.4sec

TORQUE (EEC Nm) @rpm 9000rpm

TRANSMISSION 6-speed Speedshift

TOP SPEED (kph) 240kph

16 August 2011

COVER STORY ment panel, better front and rear seats and a beefier steering wheel. The colour of the instrument cluster has also been changed to reduce eye strain. Some things haven’t changed. You’ll still feel like you’re in a sports car from the moment you slip behind the wheel of the Mazda RX-8 with the snug seating and the high transmission tunnel that splits the cab into four pods. The super stubby gear lever feels great in the hand and the generous seat adjustment means it’s easy for taller drivers to get comfortable. The rear accommodation can cope with two adults in the back without any fuss with simple access via the wide side door aperture. You get a decent boot as well, so family weekends away are easily within the car’s remit. Market and Model We’ve established that Mazda’s RX-8 is an unorthodox proposition but does it warrant selection ahead of capable and desirable rivals like Alfa Romeo’s Brera, Nissan’s 370Z or Audi’s TT? If you value the versatility of those four seats, then most certainly, and the latest version stands up as a drivers’ car in its own right. If it seems pricier in R3 guise, that’s only because a single top-of-the-line version is now on offer. Mazda is actually keen to tell anyone who’ll listen that if you’d specified the most powerful version of the original RX-8 in this form, you’d ac-

tually have paid more. And that’s despite the fitment of a dozen extra equipment features to this car not previously offered across the range. Apart from the sporty styling bits, bigger alloys and better Recaro seats, there are features like cruise control, auto xenon headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, a better 9-speaker BOSE premium audio system with 6-CD autochanger, plus a Bluetooth ‘phone-capatible set-up. Cost of Ownership Despite packing an engine of just 1.3-litres in capacity, the more powerful RX-8 can only manage 25mpg and hefty 284g/km emissions, figures that are no better than rival models boasting 3.0-litre V6 power. At least you can go longer between fill-ups now, thanks to a larger 65.4-litre petrol tank holding 3.6-litres more fuel. If you’re put off by the prospect of having such an idiosyncratic piece of machinery under your bonnet, don’t be. The Mazda rotary engine has been developed over many years and has proven itself to be reliable although it pays to get into the habit of checking the oil regularly, even though engine oil capacity has been increased to 7.0-litres. This is easier to do now thanks to the fact that the oil dipstick has been moved from the side of the engine to the top of the engine cover. Considering the RX-8 lacks a prestige badge, residual values for the car are buoyant. The used market traditionally values practical vehicles highly and sports coupes don’t come any more prac-

tical than this. Together with the low purchase price, this helps to make an RX-8 a sound investment. Summary There are faster and better looking sports coupes than Mazda’s RX-8 but as a practical and charismatic all-round package offering excellent value for money, it’s difficult to beat. The rotary engine and unorthodox door layout might look gimmicky to the casual observer but on trying the car, you quickly appreciate that they really do work and the rest of the RX-8 isn’t bad either. Impressive build quality, an involving driving experience and surprising levels of comfort all go to make the RX-8 R3 a winner. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. There remains a question mark over the engine’s economy and the rear seat occupants don’t get much of a view out. The latest changes will also go unnoticed by many. Still, it’s worth looking at the big picture. How many cars can offer four full-size seats, a substantial boot, serious performance and sports car handling for around Ksh 1.8m? Your search for an (answer can only lead you to your local dealer.



The RX-8’s formula of four adult-sized seats, rear-hinged ‘free-style’ doors, a large boot and a 1.3-litre rotary engine.


The 0-62mph sprint is covered by the single 231PS model in a handy 6.4s and there’s a 146mph (240kph) top speed, so this is a serious performance car.

August 2011 17


The rear accommodation can cope with two adults in the back without any fuss with simple access via the wide side door aperture.


There are faster and better looking sports coupes than Mazda’s RX-8 but as a practical and charismatic all-round package offering excellent value for money.


Selecting the best Exhaust Although at first this may seem like a subject that any I-know-it-all car fan is already familiar with, we’ve come to the conclusion in recent years that there are a lot of preconceptions and even misinformation related to the way exhausts work. by correspondent


f we were to bet on some exhaustrelated common knowledge, it would be on the fact that quite a large amount of car enthusiasts are under a pretty wrong impression about how a car’s exhaust actually works and the reason for which they are different from each other. This may come as a surprise to some of you guys, but a bigger exhaust opening at the rear of a car does not necessarily translate into more horsepower. On the other hand, back pressure is not a prerequisite of a good exhaust in all cases. Last but not least, the truth isn’t in the middle either, but it all depends on what type of car (engine) we’re talking about here. We should probably start with a short definition of how the thingamajig, responsible for those glorious sounds but also for those harmful emissions, actually works, shan’t we? In the beginning, there was the inter-

nal combustion engine... no, we’re kidding, we won’t start from those immemorial times. We will, however, explain an exhaust’s main function and how it has evolved over the years, because that is quite easy to understand. In short, there were only two purposes of an exhaust in the beginning:that of minimizing the engine’s noise output and of course that of directing away the hot gasses coming out of it. As time passed and people realized that cars in large numbers contribute a great deal to air pollution, a third purpose for the exhaust appeared, and that is to limit the harmful emissions of an engine. Now for the longer and slightly more technical cut of what happens before, during and even after gasses enter the exhaust of an engine. What comes out of a normal internal combustion engine after each exhaust stroke is technically the burnt product of the combustion which just took place inside the cylinders during the power stroke cycle. Ba da bing, ba da boom! We are talking about carbon monoxide and dioxide, nitrogen oxide, phosphorus and sometimes even some unburned fuel particles. All these products are in a very hot gaseous state and have a high rate of speed, since there are literally explosions taking place inside an internal combustion engine’s cylinder(s). These gases exit the cylinders and enter the exhaust manifold, which is technically a merger of several tubes/pipes which con-

18 August 2011

verge. After that, in modern cars, they go through a catalytic converter, which helps cleaning up some of the more harmful chemical bits but also quietens the exhaust note quite a lot. Between the catalytic converter and the exhaust tip(s) follows a varying number of mufflers and/or resonators, ending with a final, bigger one.

In other words, exhaust gasses have to travel for quite a while after exiting the actual engine’s cylinders, during which time they lose velocity/pressure, heat, sound and some of their initial elements. That’s what an exhaust of a modern car does. There are a couple of misconceptions flying around about exhaust systems, and one of the most common is the fact that a sports muffler can increase the


for your vehicle horsepower of an engine. That couldn’t be further from the truth, since the muffler’s single

larger an exhaust system is, the more power the engine attached to it will produce. This actually very much depends on the type and power of the engine we are talking about. For example, in turbocharged engines, the turbos situated on the exhaust do much of the cooling and sound minimizing of the gasses coming out of the engine, so the rest of the exhaust system has to be designed according to

purpose in life is to further silence the exhaust note enough for the car to pass inspections. Getting back to those dreadful exhaust gasses, there’s another short story to be told. Since every internal combustion engine out there works in so-called cycles, exhaust gasses aren’t exactly a continuous stream. With each opening and closing of the exhaust valves on the cylinders, the gasses will flow and then stop for brief moments of time, thus creating continuous pulses instead of a continuous stream. Another myth that is not always true is the fact that the August 2011 19

that. Different cars have different exhausts, but the general idea is that the more powerful a car is, the larger exhaust it will have the only limit in road cars being the sound and emissions control enforced by various governments. If you really want to increase the horsepower of your car though, a complete sports exhaust system is key, don’t waste your money on just new mufflers.


Used Mercedes Benz E-class Review by correspondent If you want a Mercedes-Benz, with its image of restrained style, disciplined authority and sporting understatement, then the car you’re probably thinking about is an E-class. The first generation model (produced between 1993 and 1995 though estates, coupes and cabriolets continued for a while) is an excellent buy and there are plenty to choose from on the used market.


rite executive saloon; even months before it began to be replaced in 1995 by an all-new model range, it remained Britain’s best selling luxury car.

History Originally, the E-class was a line-up of mid-range models, ranging from the 200E to the 300E, introduced late in 1985. Saloons, then estates were offered first before coupes and, ultimately, convertibles arrived. In 1993, the range was rationalised and renamed as the E-class line-up at the same time as enjoying a minor facelift; you pick the later cars by their clear front indicator lenses and wide side mouldings. This first generation E-class range was a huge success for Mercedes. Over 10 years, it held sway as Europe’s favou-

What You Get ‘The Best or Nothing’ was the personal motto of Gottlieb Daimler and the criterion he applied in creating the automobile. A century later, it remains the guiding spirit of the company he co-founded. Most MercedesBenz customers feel the same. Few would consider a BMW or a Ford, a Land Rover or a Toyota as an alternative, however luxurious. None of those cars could give them the feeling of driving a universal automotive benchmark, a car which sets the standards by which others must be judged. There’s a great deal of mythology in that of course. In many ways, the Stuttgart company can no longer claim to be in a class of its own, with great strides by rival manufacturers,

odels Models Covered: First generation E-class - 19931995: (E200 2.0 Saloon, Estate / E220 2.0 Saloon, Estate, Coupe, Cabriolet / E250D 2.5 D Saloon, Estate / E280 2.8 6cyl Saloon, Estate / E300D 3.0 6cyl D Saloon, Estate / E320 3.2 6cyl Saloon, Estate, Coupe, Cabriolet / E500 Saloon)(NB - The Estate and Coupe models continued until 1996. Cabriolets continued until 1997)

notably neighbours BMW, challenging the premium prices still being asked by the three-pointed star. Even so, the ownership of a Mercedes-Benz still remains the mark of instant status. Somehow, just seating yourself behind the wheel is enough to send a little rush of pride seeping through the veins. You’ve made it. What You Pay If first generation post-1993 examples are beyond your budget, then don’t worry. As with every Mercedes-Benz, build quality is so good that you can afford to consider the older late Eighties/early Nineties 200E-300E cars that were almost identical to the first generation E-class. If these cars feature high mileages, don’t be too concerned - provided you buy from reputable sources and insist on a full service history. As far as the real first generation E-class cars are concerned, there are plenty of well equipped 1993-1995

20 August 2011

USED CAR REVIEW E200 and E220 saloon models around within the Ksh 600,000-750,000 price bracket; you may even come across a frugal E250 diesel for between about Ksh 750,000 and 800,000. For an E220 Coupe, plan for just over Ksh 700,000 to about Ksh 900,000 while the convertible goes for between Ksh 900,000 and 1m. For a sixcylinder E280 saloon, allow Ksh 600,000 to just under Ksh 800,000 and for the E320 saloon, between K s h 700,000 and 850,000. What to Look For Buying from a franchised dealership is undeniably expensive, but it does take the worry out of purchasing an E-class. Going this route also entitles you to Mercedes’ helpful finance scheme and an impressive back-up package of after-sales benefits. A nice metallic colour is preferable, as is au-

orld W y as

t Fan

tomatic transmission, leather upholstery and air conditioning, all of which will guarantee an easier sale when it’s time to sell on. If you’re buying alone, look out for badly treated cars which have been disguised. Telltale signs are sagging seats and shiny steering wheel rims. On the Road An E-class isn’t cheap, and its price isn’t one that most owners would attempt to justify by quoting from the standard equipment list. Having said that, the specification on most post-1993 cars does run to anti-lock brakes, power for the steering, sunroof, windows and mirrors, a driver’s airbag, central locking and lumbar support for the seats. In the first generation E220 for example, acceleration to 60 KPH takes 10.8 seconds, but the car’s slippery shape does ensure an above average maximum speed of 123mph (or 131mph in the case of the saloon). Handling is precise the car turns into corners with a crisp fluidity - and is aided by excellently weighted power steering that offers just the right amount of assistance. Less welcome from the point of view of the sporting driver is the giant steering wheel which looks like something from a Triumph Toledo. Once you get used to that, you learn to respect the impressive reserves of grip on offer. The powerful, progressive brakes add to the all-round feeling of safety which the car imbues to its owner. Less familiar will be the unusual fly-off parking brake, ap-

Overall If you can afford the asking price, then an E-class becomes a surprisingly affordable car to own. That’s down to design efficiency and tiny depreciation. Your accountant will approve. Trust me; ask him. And you still look good when you get out the car. It’s an Mercedes. What more needs to be said?

See how YOUR vehicle compares against the best









540 bhp

750 NM

4.7 Sec.

320 Kph

aprxt 10m

Your Boss!!



201 bhp

430 NM

8.5 Sec.

240 Kph



plied by a pedal mounted on the left-hand side of the driver’s footwell. You release it with a facia-mounted handle. The interior itself looks less austere than perhaps you might expect; Mercedes brightened things up in later years by the addition of shiny polished wood fittings, although the atmosphere remained very Germanic. You soon learn to live with the firm seats, which prove to be deceptively comfortable over long journeys, but less impressive on short ones. E-class estates offer a usefully sized loading area that’s reached via a low loading sill. They can’t rival the spaciousness of Volvo’s estate cars, but should prove ample for the needs of most owners.

August 2011 21

2.9m used

Maina, kimani, waweru!!




Your 9-second Street bike has arrived


hen Suzuki’s Hayabusa debuted in 1999, it inspired controversy for two aspects that would go on to become iconic: its controversial aerodynamic styling and its ability to open a giant can of whup-ass on anything else on the showroom floor. After word got out about its 9-second abilities down the quarter-mile and its 190-plus-mph top speed, its “Eye-AbuseEr” nickname became less prevalent. Soon the Busa was seen by some groups as the hottest thing on the street, and the mighty falcon became one of the primary canvases on which to polish frames and bolt on big-tire kits to up the bike’s badass-ness. Now nine years on (and with a manufacturers’ agreement to limit top speeds to a laughably sedate 186 mph), the Busa was hit on the chin in 2006 by the Kawasaki ZX-14. The Kawi proved to be quicker and more powerful but also smoother and more comfortable. Regardless, the Busa remained as popular

by correspondent as ever and was unmatched for its street cred. Fearing a “New Coke”-type backlash, Suzuki engineers didn’t want to stray too far from the original Busa concept in this new redesign you see here. It’s still unmistakably a Hayabusa even if every fairing panel has been remoulded. And it’s not much different underneath, either. Turnsignals set into the ram-air intake ports and angular dual exhaust canisters are clues you’re looking at a 2008 Busa. While it’s the new skin that first grabs your attention, it’s the unholy monster motor underneath that has earned the Hayabusa its veneration. Potent and durable, it has been the inspiration for a closer relationship with god among those who have twisted its throttle to the stop. For ’08, this legendary lump has received a 2mm longer stroke to yield 1340cc instead of the old bike’s 1299cc. New forged pistons are lighter and stronger and produce a 1.5-point increase in compression ratio to 12.5:1. Also forged is the crank, as it attaches to new *chro22 August 2011

moly rods that are now shot-peened for added strength. Cam chain adjustment is now accomplished hydraulically, which also helps reduce mechanical noise. Up top are 16 new titanium valves that save 14.1 grams on each intake and 11.7 grams on each exhaust for a significant weight loss in this critical area, allowing the replacement of double valve springs with lighter single springs. Valve sizes remain the same, but a new camshaft now forces greater lift on both the intake and exhaust poppets and has revised timing. It’s all fed by a pair of double-barreled 44mm throttle bodies. Controlled by a new high-powered Engine Control Unit, Suzuki says that the Busa has the company’s “most powerful, most advanced digital fuel-injection and engine management system.” Another important task of the ECU is controlling the different parameters of Suzuki’s Drive Mode System. Like the GSX-R1000 and ’08 Gixxer 600/750, the Busa has a handlebar-mounted switch to set the power mode into three available positions. It produces full power in mode A, the default setting, while mode B has a bit of the power edge clipped off. Mode C might be an asset in the rain, but it neuters all the excitement out of the muscular motor. How muscular, you might ask? Suzuki claims the new bike cranks out 194 horsepower at the crankshaft, a 21-horse (12.1per cent) improvement. Torque is boosted 8.5 per cent to 114 ft-lbs. The old 1299cc engine produced about 160 ponies at the rear wheel, so we expect this new one to spit out around 175 horsepower on a rear-wheel dyno. “The new 2008 Haybusa is just so freakin’ fast it is unreal. Accelerating off the corners with a quiet whoosh from the twin pipes like it had been shot out of a G4 rifle, it feels like some sort of video game flicking through some of Kiambu Road’s tighter sections. It starts making lots of power early, and by the time the needle is past five grand all hell is letting loose. It pulls without a break until the rev limiter kicks in with a bang somewhere around 11rpm.” Suzuki claims a 21-horsepower in-

USED BIKE REVIEW crease in the new Busa, which should yield about 175 ponies at the rear wheel. Yee haa! It is said that the response from the high-tech fuel-injection system is flawless, aided by injectors with fine-atomizing 12-hole squirters instead of the previous four. “Giving superb throttle response from very low in the rev range all the way till the rev limiter kicked in, the system was faultless. One area that can cause problems with fuel-injection systems is at lower rpm on small throttle openings, but this was not the case with the big Suzuki.” We expect an epic duel between this uprated Busa and the more powerful 2008 ZX-14 for the honour of quartermile champ. Who do you think will take this crown between the two fastest bikes in the world? This will be hard to find out here in Kenya, but if you have the balls to do it on Kenyan roads with these crazy matatus, give us a call and we would love to witness the whole thing. Out on the road, the new Busa handles a lot like the old Busa with extra power. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering that the bike’s twin-spar aluminum frame is nearly identical to the previous, so we’ve got the same 23.4-degree rake and short 3.7 inches (93mm) of trail. A revised swingarm shortens the wheelbase a scant 5mm to 58.3 inches and features an additional strengthening rib for less flex.

SPEC-SHEET Suzuki Hayabusa ENGINE (2ltr tfsi/tdi & 3ltr) 1340cc, liquid cooled, 4 - cylinders in line, 4-stroke

Valves DOHC, % valves per cylinder

TORQUE (EEC Nm) @rpm 104.9 Nm @ 8500 rpm



“Don’t expect to go diving up the inside of any supersport bikes at a track day, but do perfect your passing wave as you cream them coming off the turns. Not that any of this should be surprising when you consider the bike weighs in around 225kgs full of fuel, it is just a good idea to remind yourself of these facts before all that horsepower lets you get carried away.” The old Busa’s most glaring shortcoming was the performance from its old-tech six-piston front brakes that were barely up to the task of slowing this earth-bound missile. We’re happy to report that Suzuki has now fitted up-todate radial-mounted four-piston calipers to the magic Bus. They bite on 10mmsmaller 310mm discs that have a half-mil extra thickness (5.5mm) to handle the heat. Also aiding heavy braking is the new slipper clutch that is said is quite effective. The clutch also has the Suzuki Clutch Assist System that increases the amount of force on the clutch plates without using stiffer clutch springs. The clutch also features a new friction material for better feedback at the engagement point. In addition, the width of a few transmission gearsets were revised and the upper three gears are sprayed with oil for reduced wear and quieter operation. As for the Hayabusa’s new clothes, we’ll leave the aesthetic judgments to you. Aerodynamic efficiency, something the old Busa had over the more powerful ZX-14, is optimized with a wider fairing and a 15mm-taller windscreen to better shelter its rider. The body panel joints are now smoother and have no exposed fasteners, and the top of the fuel tank is lower to allow a tighter full tuck. The tailsection has an enlarged speed hump that will stir some commotion on the message boards, and it also sports integrated turnsignals that are said to “evoke a jet engine motif.” Front turn indicators are nestled into the edges of the air intakes in the nose. Aesthetically speaking, the Busa’s new tailsection and mufflers are going to take some getting used to.

320 Kph August 2011 23

Does the new Hayabusa have what it takes to handle the newly upgraded Kawasaki ZX-14? We can’t wait to find out. Also sure to be controversial is the Busa’s new exhaust system. The triangular muffler canisters on the 4-into 2-into-1-into-2 arrangement look ungainly but are a product of more stringent emissions standards. A catalytic converter is placed where the four head pipes meet under the engine. “Listening to the sound of the new Suzuki Hayabusa going past a few feet from pit wall at close to 120 kph, I just couldn’t believe how quiet the bike is, I usually see this red and black baby along Mamlaka Road” . “The closeness of the walls greatly exaggerated the already intense speed, and every time you crank the throttle, the track just seems to come at you in fast forward. The power is seamless and oh, so abundant.” So, depending on how you think about streetbikes, perhaps Suzuki’s claim of the new Hayabusa as “the ultimate sportbike for the road” has some merit. For some, it’s just too heavy and too powerful, but for others, this invigorated Busa is exactly what they’re looking for. “As the first significant overhaul to the all-conquering Japanese bird since 1999, the new 2008 Haybusa is everything the old one was and more. Faster, better handling, and with stronger brakes, the performance element is not going to disappoint. Looking sharper and more modern, without losing its distinct appearance, Busa lovers are not going to be unhappy either. “And for the rebel without a clue, who thinks their V-twin’s 67 horsepower, 15side mirrors, a whole hi five system and a set of loud pipes makes them a Bad Ass, well they are still going to hate the big, ugly lump of plastic as it goes by them at close to the speed of sound.” Well when you ride her”..

TECH TOYS Photo: The Jaguar XJ X350 Black Bison

Subaru WRX and Impreza Going Separate Ways

Jaguar XJ X350 Black Bison Comes in... Blue


the Jag got the Renovation R12 21inch wheels - 9.0J x 21-inchers with 255/30R21 tyres at the front and 10.5J x 21-inches at the back wrapped in 295/25R21 tyres.

Applying the Black Bison kit we’ve so far seen on the Lexus LX570, BMW 5-Series F10 or the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, the tuners brought both exterior and interior updates to the car.

And the tuners at Wald did not stop at just modifying how the car looks, but they have also stepped inside to work their magic. In fact, the Black Bison kits brings to the interior the usual leather seats, aluminum insertions, and the mandatory Wald International logo.

s the tuning world always leaves space for more, and despite the fact that many think that a Jag is as good as it can get, Japanese tuner Wald International comes to prove us wrong.

The model in question is the previous generation Jaguar XK (X350) which, despite now bearing the word ‘black’ in its designation, is actually finished in... blue. Visual tweaks include a front bumper spoiler, side steps, rear bumper spoiler, boot lid spoiler, roof spoiler, side skirts, fender panel and mirror covers with LED indicators. Rounding off the package is DTM TW240 sports muffler for a new sound. Of course, such a development couldn’t have been introduced without a set of generously-sized custom rims. Thus, 24 August 2011

We are witnessing another heartbreaking “divorce” after the one in which Skyline was separated from GT-R when the car debuted in late 2007. It looks like hystory might repeat itself, only this time Subaru is doing the move. This means the Impreza and famed WRX are going their separate ways. The new production Impreza debuted at this year’s New York Auto Show, while the next WRX will take a completely different path of development and will not make the entrance until 2014, a fact also mentioned by Subaru. “Apart from a few nuts and bolts, every part on the WRX will be unique. Even the engine and body. Obviously the WRX’s platform will be inherited from the new Impreza, but it will be radically modified and significantly shortened,” as related by On the other side, things begin to take shape as well meaning that the Impreza will be the company’s core model, boasting a fuel-efficient, naturally aspired 2.0-litre boxer engine. The car’s wheelbase has been slightly lenhtened, while the A-pillar was brought forward to maximize interior space and comfort levels. “Up until now, the Impreza and WRX used many common parts, which translated into entry-level Imprezas that were over-engineered,” as related by the aforementioned. The new WRX is aimed by Subaru bosses to domestic rallies and gymkhanas but they are also targeting Europe’s World Touring Car Championships as well as the awaited return to WRC. The new “Subaru WRX” is expected to arrive in showrooms in about two years with costs between $26,000 and $29,000.


Porsche Designed its own Shisha

Lamborghini Wireless Mouse

The Shisha is a smoking instrument which enjoys a great deal of popularity worldwide, but it’s most commonly used in the Middle East. Porsche Design decided to create a Shisha of its own as part of the luxury brand’s World Collection. The Porsche Design Shisha combines high-quality materials such as aluminum, stainless steel and glass with the unique design approach of the luxury brand. “Puristic and stylish at the same time,” as the company claims. The Porsche Design Shisha is made in Germany and stands at a height of 55 centimeters. It only shows a discreet branding on the aluminum top of the Shisha and comes with a long flexible tube made out of TecFlex material, which is also used for the classic Porsche Design TecFlex writing tools. The Porsche Design World Collection is dedicated to a united global community and consists of a number of exclusively designed products. Besides the Shisha the assortment contains chopsticks, a tea and soup set as well as a few fashion items such as a jacket, polo shirt and a silk scarf. The luxury Shisha is to come to the worldwide Porsche Design stores from end of July. It will be available with immediate effect exclusively at the lately opened Porsche Design shop-in-shop at the world famous Harrods department store in London, Knightsbridge, that offers the full range of Porsche Design products. It is situated in the opulent surroundings of the Knightsbridge store’s vision and sound department at the 3rd Floor’s Millionaires Gallery.

The partnership between Italian sports car manufacturer and computer hardware and PC accessories producer Asus is growing stronger with the release of a new co-branded product. Following the Asus Automobili Lamborghini VX 7 notebook launched back in April, the two companies have now announced the release of the VX-Lamborghini Wireless Mouse. Available for purchase with a price tag of $80(Ksh 7,200), the wireless mouse comes in a sleek and sporty design inspired by Lamborghini supercars. The WX-Lamborghini comes with a touch of leather and it is offered in a twotone colour scheme that includes yellow and black, as well as white and black shades. Customers can also go for an allblack coloured mouse as well. The product is embedded with a **nano dongle attachment that connects to any USB port for a 10m wireless range, while being powered by AAA batteries. In addition, users can choose the right mouse resolution for every surface and application type with switch able dot-per-inch settings. Also, the high frequency response range guarantees instant precision without the hassle of annoying wires or interference from other devices. “Based on the power and speed so coveted in Lamborghini vehicles, the WX-Lamborghini wireless laser mouse delivers a breathtaking experience in control. This is the ultimate style icon when it comes to mouse input, inspired directly by the powerful, angular shape so known from its motorized namesakes. OS Support: Windows 7; Windows Vista; Windows XP

August 2011 25

Bowler Confirms Plans to Build Road Legal SUV Bowler, the off-road rally car manufacturer has became famous especially after introducing the Nemesis Dakar racer which was an instant success. The custombuilt vehicle can race on just about any terrain. Just imagine how “cool” it would be to have a car like this on a daily basis. Just think about it… being able to take just about any shortcut on and off-road you feel like, as long as it doesn’t involve going over an office building. According to Steve Haywood, Bowler’s managing director, they are looking to make a “Supercar SUV” based on the Range Rover Sport. Another thing worth mentioning is that Haywood was previously a chief engineer over at Range Rover. His goal at Bowler now is to develop the fourth-generation model of Nemesis. “We have a tremendous opportunity. Bowler has generated huge interest in past years for a street-legal version of the competition cars. But we’ll begin work on any new model quite slowly, taking care with its positioning and specifications, keeping all the recognition devices to maintain the pedigree, and listening carefully to the customer’s requirements,” Haywood was quoted as saying by The rally raid vehicle manufacturer Bowler was recently bought by CPP and also owns Spyker. It is in talks to aquire Zagato and has the capacity to manufacture15-20 rally raid vehicles per year. Haywood forecasts that there will be a demand of 150 to 200 road-going versions a year, from customers who are in need of a 4x4 that is tougher than most models on the market.






Street legal cars that rule kenyan roads August 2011 27


Photo: R34 GTR Will skip the intros and get straight to the point. Like most men out there, I’ve been a car maniac since the time I was a little boy. Over time I’ve come to realise that there’s 3 categories of people: 1. Those who regard a car merely as a means of transport and settle for whatever just rolled off a mass production line. 2.. Those who take their motoring experience abit more seriously and get themselves some European piece of kit. 3. Those who put heart & soul into their specially tuned machines, and by that I don’t mean a shell plastered with a ton of fiberglass kit, a weird paint job, loud music, noisy mufflers and a spoiler. For the car enthusiasts out there, “THE ART OF PERFORMANCE” will definitely ring a very loud bell. We’ve got the Car Gurus at Auto Art at your service. They’ve modified to create some of the finest & meanest cars on our streets today, those in the know see them, and say.. “one day, I hope to own one of those!.” Taking a quick glance around, I can’t help but notice the array of exotics that cover the premises be it from the JDM or the European stables. I highly recommend a visit to the enthusiasts out there, you’re guaranteed of some fresh new energy & a car that’ll get heads turning every which way. Back to business with our car of the month: A legend in Japan dating back to almost half a century. Dominance began with its 50 victories scored from 1968–1972, including 49 consecutive wins in the Japanese race circuit. The car was banned from Australian motorsport for being too quick after it thrashed V8-powered Holdens and Fords in Australia’s touring car championship. Successive generations of this car have already established an unshakable position in Japan as a result of incorporating the highest levels of technology available in pursuit of ultimate driving pleasure. The superior performance transcended the oceans to make it the focus of envious looks the world over. It has been the showcase for the highest levels of acceleration, cornering and stopping capabilities. The delicate balance between the powerful engine and responsive suspension has been pushed as each system surpassed last generation technology. Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you the Nissan Skyline R34 GTR 28 August 2011

V Spec! For me, that’s enough to make me weak in the knees, but for the readers trying to keep up with the abbreviations, here’s some insight: The previous version of this car dominated the JTCC, winning all 29 races it entered in the series, as well as taking the series title every year from 1989–1993 and soon earned the title of “GODZILLA”, for its “monster” track performance and country of origin. The engine comprises of a straight six-cylinder configuration with twin overhead camshafts and four-valves per cylinder and twin turbochargers. The throttle chamber has six individual throttle valves (one per cylinder) isolating each engine cylinder from the rest and acting like six individual single-cylinder engines. The power is fed through a six-speed close ratio Getrag gearbox. Nissan’s electronically controlled four-wheel drive system “ATTESA-E-TS PRO” is specifically designed for both road and racetrack use. Most other allwheel drive systems are designed for off-road applications or rally cars. The system was designed for more high speed road use, it has a series of sensors and two centrally controlled wet multi-plate clutches to optimise torque split between the front and rear axles. It eliminates understeer and gives optimum traction and stability under acceleration, braking and cornering. Successive generations of the GT-R have truly incorporated superior specifications even among vehicles in this segment. With its unrivaled power, the engine delivers outstanding acceleration and top speed combined with a natural driving sensation. A superior braking system has provided powerful braking performance, and an outstanding suspension has enabled the GT-R to corner with remarkable quickness. As a result, the GT-R has continued to embody the most advanced technologies available in every era. Auto Art has taken all this and managed to further tweak this car to attain yet new levels of performance. First of all the engine has been re-bored to 2.7 litres employing fully forged race-spec internals to give far more immediate torque at lower RPMs, the Inlet manifold has been polished & modified to accomodate 2 large NOS injectors for some explosive top end power, bigger aftermarket dual ball bearing turbos, an uprated fuelling system, competition spec hi-lift cams, water/meth injection.. The list goes on... Am sure you’re all wondering what kind of power this beast produces and what it’s top speed is like, I need to guarantee that you will be coming in second everytime! 0-60mph arrives in a mere 3.5 seconds, max speed dials in at 320kph+. I think we’re safe to say that this machine hasn’t been designed & built for the faint hearted. Auto Art believes that If drivers are to enjoy the ultimate in driving pleasure, a car’s potential must be raised to it’s utmost limits. Now a look at the Spec sheet..





August 2011 29






ear Photo: R ater tank k, w NosTan

BO raking N BREM Photo: B PPED 4 PISTO BO (REAR) UI EM ABS EQ , 2 PISTON BR ) T (FRON 30 August 2011

Photo: Engine Check the spec sheet the list is endless

Still going Strong

Still Going Strong Vintage classics maintained for special occasions!

Still going Strong

Still Going Strong coming your way


here is the concour d’elegance where the Alfa Romeo Owners Club parade classic vintage vehicles that are sparkling clean and models of by gone eras that leave the spectators gasping for breath and asking for more. There are also the vintage classics maintained for special occasions. They are hired out to make that wedding or that event the most memorable. An example is the Vintage Weddings and Events. Then there are those old models of vehicles - the Peugeot 203, 204, 403, 404,405 both saloons and pick-ups: Datsun 1200, Datsun 120Y saloon ; the Volkswagen Beetle and Kombi; the Mini Morris series, and then the trucks and buses - the list is endless. Models that are as old as time itself. Yet the vehicle owners have maintained them in such a condition that they are sparkling clean. Their engines do not need any cajoling to fire up and even their interiors tell of the passion their owners have for these beauties.

Photo: Peugeot 404 Injection

From the next issue, we feature such cars and the love story between them and their owners. We bring you what it takes to maintain the beauties in the shapes they are in; just like they are new in the new ‘Still Going Strong’ column. This is one column you cannot afford to miss. If you would like your beauty to be featured, kindly get in touch with: The Editor MotorTrader P.O. Box 21824,00400 Tel: 020 8079558/9 Mobile: 0718223838 Email:

Photo: BMW 1968

Photo: Mini Morris Photo: Left; Peugeot 204 saloon Right: Classic mercedes benz

32 August 2011




This Month

1. KCB Rally Pearl of Africa 2. Cautious Mangat talks about his continental dreams, his opponents 3. Dr Tamara on ‘Haraka Mamas’ roll

August 2011 33


34 August 2011


Photo: Alain Dethise and Vander Viken

Ponsiano for Podium finish as ‘God decides this Pearl Winner’



od handed me this podium Number one finish,” were the words two times Ugandan champion Ponsiano Lwakataka kept uttering as he overcame the devil himself to clinch his maiden Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally (POAUR) win since 2001. It had been a Herculean task for a man who has tried this feat on every occasion since he first rocked the cock-pit and on this particular occasion, had appealed not to start in position one ahead of ARC reigning champion Jammie Whyte and Safari Rally runner-up Jas Mangat. On Friday(15th july) at Lubiri, the speed merchant had found himself in a very unfamiliar 16th position courtesy of a mis-booking by a time marshal and by the time he started Leg 1B on Saturday,(16th july) it was clear this had impacted on him psychologically. He took a penalty for late booking when intentionally he refused to lead the route in a dramatic stance that saw Whyte being flagged off first on Saturday. However, he was to discover that again, instead of the anticipated two minutes’ penalty the provisional results showed four minutes “I almost went mad! I wondered if somebody was conspiring with Satan to deny me this! But the good thing the stewards overruled my position at Lubiri and also cut the four minutes to two. God was with me, I pushed the car to the limit, but I did not expect especially Mangat to roll with just a section to go and five minutes ahead of me,” said an ecstatic Lwakataka. Indeed, it must have been God or rather gods as some local folk speculated. Who else would force Ronald Ssebuguzi’s roll so early in the game and Jas Mangat so late!

Most people’s money was on a Ponsiano non-finish at odds 1:10, for like the adage goes, “the devil you know…” His rolls and mechanical problems are more predictable than President sleeping at State House. Yet this speed merchant disproved pundits, fans and haters alike. He was driving at jet speeds and consistent enough to finish where others failed. In a nutshell, he prepared himself despite the Hand of God. But if Lwakataka prayed to God, then we must wonder who Conrad Rautenbach consulted while in South Africa. While he leads the FIA Africa Rally Championship at 93 points against Whyte’s 76, many questioned his decision to miss or rather his sponsor VolksWagen’s insistence that he must choose a South African National event ahead of the ARC with the championship so close. Well, that event (VW Rally South Africa) too, is sponsored by VolksWagen, so there is that admissible angle of the argument. Had Whyte won the ARC lot that was participating in the KCB POAUR, gained 25 points, he would be smiling and rally fans all over Africa would be set for an adrenaline pumping ARC climax. It did not happen. Conrad’s prayers too worked, Whyte retired due to gearbox problems and now it will have to be the latter to prayer. Unfortunately, both being Zimbabweans, the gods might have to choose as the two go to Madagascar. Good luck my friends! However, back home the Ugandan National Rally Championship season goes on with Lwakataka and Susan Muwonge now locking horns at 240 points and 335 respectively with two events to go on calendar. Susan was handed the best female crew for this Pearl Rally and for her spirited fight August 2011 35

to maintain her grip on the championship, she was 4th overall and 2nd local crew. This POAUR has been commended by the stewards, local and foreign drivers and the country at large as the safest ever in Uganda. Hajji Gombe and Deo Ssembatya worked hand in hand with Uganda Police to ensure the route is closed to public traffic, so no boda bodas causing havoc and being a menace this time round. The Event Manager, Kagimu George, at the Prize giving thanked all the foreign crews, fans and officials for sparing time and resources to come to Uganda and promised to “revenge” like ex-president Iddi Amin would literally put it. The Uganda government represented by sports Minister Bakabulindi, did the same and pledged more support to Motorsport. The POAUR was full of drama, heartbreaks and jubilation. Just when all and sundry thought Jas Mangat had it in the bag, the coveted title slipped through his grasp as fast. Burundian Alain Dethise also savored his maiden FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) victory despite finishing third overall behind 2010 Rwanda Champion Christakis Fitidis and trailing Lwakataka by a massive 11.01 minutes. And just like the KCB Safari Rally in June, the Ugandan tour proved quite unforgiving to foreigners with only two ARC finishers making it to the ramp at Oasis KCB Branch. The Madagascan crew of Fredrick Rakotomanaga and Adam Yachine settled for second in the continental series and 5th in the overall classification. Susan Muwonge, the Ugandan “Super Lady” was named the best female driver when she romped home


fourth overall in a day full of drama and gremlins. But Lwakataka, who won back to back Uganda National Rally Championship (NRC) titles in 2005 and 2006, had his Pearl campaign effectively sewn up when event pace-setters Jas Mangat of Uganda and Zim oldie James Whyte retired on Leg2. Recounting some of the tormenting moments he has had to contend with since the rally zoomed off on Friday, the Ugandan speed merchant, nevertheless, thanked God for his first ever Pearl of Africa victory. “In fact, it has come as a big surprise to me because the way I started wasn’t good. I didn’t want to open the road so I took a penalty for that on Saturday. On leg 1A (Spectator stage), I found myself in an unfamiliar 16th place and though the position was later overruled by stewards, such things really affected my driving. I have done my best - pushed my best and God has given me the victory,” said Lwakataka. Mangat had been the talk of town - what with his new-found high-octane approach and had his Subaru Impreza N12 going at full blast in the first two days, but with just one stage to spare, he exited the rally at full pelt. Mangat’s game plan was to just take it easy on Sunday and get to the end but the rally gods proved otherwise. “We were driving really safe as we didn’t have the front traction. We were just on rear drive and when we came round the corner, a pretty easy corner, we cut a bit to the right and hit an anthill,” Mangat expounded how he rolled at CS16 (Mbalala-Bibbo) stage. This was incidentally the same spot where his compatriot Sebuguzi had rolled on Saturday. Whyte was well on course for another ARC win until gear box gremlins forced him out in the 14th Competitive Section at Nakifuma 3. His retirement was indeed Conrad Rautenbach’s delight. With three more ARC rallies in Rwanda, Tanzania and Madagascar and 75 points up for grabs, Rautenbach still leads the ARC table standings with 93points despite opting for VW Rally South Africa this weekend. (16th and 17th july)

Mangat had fought a good fight but as the old adage goes “He had not survived to sleep in it” with a whole five minutes cushion from eventual winner Lwakataka at the penultimate competitive section. “This morning (Sunday 17th july) we felt a bit nervous because we have not led in a big rally like this one. But we felt pretty confident because we had a big fught after day two,” continued Mangat. Whyte’s navigator Phil Archenoul looked rather dejected with their Ugandan tour. “We are a bit sad because we were hoping for a bit of an advantage on Conrad. We were comfortably on the lead of Africa-but you know Jamie races not just for the championship - Jamie races to win and we were really going for that,” explained Archenoul. As Leg 2 zoomed off at Hotel Africana in Kampala, Mangat enjoyed a three minutes cushion but Whyte put his stuff together and was really flying in the morning run. “We realized that Jas (Mangat) had a problem with the centre diff so we thought it was a chance of catching him. Unfortunately, that is what happens in rallying - t he gods of rallying take over - but we are still going to Tanzania and we just don’t gonna give it up to Conrad,”

36 August 2011

ARC STANDINGS AFTER UGANDA 1.Conrad RAUTENBACH (Zim) 93 2.James WHYTE (Zim) 76 3. Alain Dethise (Bur) 25 4. Muna Singh (Zam) 24 FINAL RESULTS POAUR: 1. Ponsiano Lwakataka/Musa Nsubuga (Subaru N8-UG) 2.05.42 2. Christakis Fitidis/Eric Maxime (Subaru N12-RWA) 2.14.45 3. Alain Dethise/R. Vander Veken (Subaru N11-BUR) 2.15.16 4. Susan Muwonge/Edmond Kyeyune (Subaru N10-UG) 2.16.52 5. Dr. Ashraf Ahmed/Daniel Ayebare (Subaru-UG) 2.17.28 6. Freddy Rakotomanga/Adam Yachine (Subaru N11-MAD) 2.20.25 7. Wycliff Bukenya/Frank Serugo (EVO9-UG) 2.21.00 8. Jagjit Singh Liddar/Joseph Kamya (VW Golf-UG) 2.32.28 9. Edson Mungeyereza/Ronald Luwangula (Subaru N10-UG) 2.34.53 10. Haji Sempebwa/Uarban Mulindwa (Subaru-UG) 2.37.22 11. Geoffrey Kiaga/ Paul Nsubuga (Subaru N10-UG) 2.37.26 12. Savtinder Singh Saini/Vimal Gajjar (Subaru N8-UG) 2.41.29 13. Ismail Ortega/John Achal (Toyota Levin) 2.50.34 14. Mansoor Sanya/Abdallah Nyombi (Subaru Impreza-UG) 2.58.05 15. Frank Lubowa/Francis Wamala (Subaru-UG) 3.10.04 16. John Burrows Lumu/Shafiq Senabulya (Subaru-UG) 3.37.21


Photo: Mangat

Cautious Mangat talks about his continental dreams, his opponents


he past one year has seen Jas Mangat’s tenacity in motorsport bear fruit in leaps and bounds. Mangat, competing for the fourth time in the KCB Kenya Safari Rally, managed to finish second. He had finished a distant 21st in 2009. MotorTrader had a chat with him on his rallying exploits . MT: When did you start rallying and what influenced you to join the sport? JM: I started in 2003 and my first event was in Rwanda with an old Golf GTI which belonged to my uncle. My father used to drive in Rwanda. That is the natural way I started to drive. I could say my father had a lot of influence in my participating in the sport. MT: What has changed your fortunes


in rallying? In the past you used to drive well but you could not finish events? JM: I had many problems over the years. But we also had some good events and finishes with the Golf. When we moved to Subaru (N10) the pace was much higher. It seems we were breaking things we never expected to break and when we got N12 (Subaru), which was a bit more advanced than N10, there was a lot of problems because the pace was a lot higher. The tyres were not keeping up with suspension and it was just a matter of studying the car again and also for the mechanics knowing what to look for. We were not maintaining the car the way we were supposed to. MT: Why did you decide to drive in Kenya? Was it the challenge? August 2011 37

JM: We went to Kenya four years ago to do the Safari and those years we were doing the ARC. Last year was a very difficult year for us: Tanzania, Kenya, and Pearl we did not finish any. It was a very expensive affair. We saw that Kenya was the only country we were not matching the top guys. Tanzania was okay, Uganda was fine, even Rwanda. So we thought by going to Kenya we had a lot to learn and improve on. Kenya was basically the place to for us to get a challenge. You see, motor rallying in Kenya is at a very high level and we thought it was the place to go and learn. It is also not far from Uganda. MT: The question of cheating in Uganda rallying. Do you think it exists? JM: I have not seen cheating myself.


Ken Block Confirmed to Test Pirelli F1 Car at Monza

There might be cheating (laughs), I hear people talk about cheating all the time. I have no further comment. MT: There have been some press reports that you did not take part in some event because of the issue? JM: Those are press reports. Nothing we have said. Last year we did three events here (Uganda), we won two, came second in one and in that we were questioning one time of the competitors and I think the press just picked on that and blew it out of proportion. But we were just driving to gain experience and get used to the car. The Championship was going to be a bonus; also last year we drove in Rwanda and finished fourth in the ARC, we got those points and we could have brought those points here but we opted not to. Certainly in Kenya is a big set up for us and we are enjoying it but we still have a lot to learn. Those boys are super fast. MT: You talked about the Safari experience . This was your fourth time. You have finished twice (2009 and2011) Can you talk about the Safari as an event? JM: Safari is a very big event and that is one thing we noticed when we went before. We were surprised to see why the Kenyans are so much faster. The roads are really rough and really challenging, we have not seen them anywhere in Africa. You are driving and sometimes you don’t

even see the road. Driving over rocks and different terrains and sometimes you get off the road to get a better line. So we felt by going to Kenya, we would get the Kenyans’ tricks so we could match them in the Safari and I guess our second position in the event shows that. To perform in Kenya you have to drive in Kenya. You have to learn the roads. MT: Do you in the near future expect to upgrade to another car? JM: Not at the moment, we were planning to last year but we have made a decision to keep this car. It is still a good car, very competitive. MT: Finally, do you hope to register for next year’s ARC? JM: It will all depend on our budget and sponsors. ARC is a very big commitment and the next four years the ARC is beginning in South Africa. Zimbabwe and Zambia are the first on the calendar. We have to wait and see next year. We are working on KNRC this year and depending on our results, we will take it from there.

38 August 2011


n a move set to test the company’s P Zero tyres, Pirelli has recently made an official statement announcing that ‘Gymkhana’ legend and World Rally Championship star Ken Block will drive the Pirelli F1 test car on August 5th at the Monza circuit. The Pirelli F1 test car has been used by the Italian company since its Formula One programme was announced in June 2010. Before the test car is taken to Monza by Block, it will complete two days of testing in the hands of Pirelli test driver Lucas di Grassi from Brazil. Di Grassi will also be present to give Block some tips and advice as he makes his Formula One debut. Block is set to use Pirelli’s softer compounds, namely the PZero Red (supersoft) and PZero Yellow (soft) – that reach their operating temperature of around 100 degrees centigrade in less than two laps. Later on in the test, he should get the chance to try out the two harder compounds: PZero White (medium) and PZero Silver (hard). These tyres have a little less performance than the softer ones, but increased durability and resistance to high temperatures. “I’ve been lucky enough to do some pretty spectacular stunts in my career so far, but this is something else! Everybody talks about Formula One being the pinnacle of world motorsport so I can’t wait to discover it for myself. I’m very grateful to Pirelli, which has been one of my partners since 2010, for this amazing opportunity. These cars are so specialised that I need to be realistic about what I can do, but I know that it’s going to be a lot of fun and take hooning to a whole new level...” Block said.


Dr Tamara on ‘Haraka Mamas’ roll BY SAMSON ATEKA Photo: Dr Tamara


oanie’s (Nesbitt) been driving like a woman on a mission since our last practice session two weeks before The Safari Rally. Our 10th fastest time in the 2 wheel drive category in Friday’s (17th june) special stage at Jamhuri Park is testament to her improved speed. Saturday’s (18th june) (Kajiado) stages had been described by much more experienced rally drivers and navigators as stages that would separate the “men from the boys”. “No mention of women”, I thought to myself, “We’ll show them!”. The first competitive stage on Saturday (18th june) was a daunting absolutely flat out 40 kilometres of Kenya’s notoriously rough roads with 29 bolt-breaking highflying jumps thrown in for good measure. We had just posted the 6th fastest time in this stage and were heading into our scheduled 20 minutes service, our nerves and rally pace yet to fully settle. Service went well, with our service manager toying with the idea of instructing Joanie “ just ease up a little on the pace until we settle into a rhythm and not attack the jumps with so much enthusiasm”. He opted not to say anything, quietly savoring the possibility of a 2WD category podium finish, given our new found pace. Joanie tore out of service as we had been delayed by traffic in re-fueling but we managed to get to the start of the 3rd competitive section in good time. We pulled into the time control on our minute, double checked our seat belts were tight, intercoms working, auxiliary pump and fans were on and awaited our countdown time to the stage start. The time control marshall gave us our count and Joanie shot off into CS3, Il Bissel

to Kamukuru Road, 44.6 kilometres of loose, narrow and sandy road. We were yet to reach a kilometre into the section, our little 1500 cc normally aspirated Toyota’s screaming engine being coaxed to over 150 kph at the end of a 300 metres with a maximum left fast approaching. I repeat my call with a hundred metres to go “100 maximum left 100, CAUTION (I emphasized the “caution”), medium left into medium right over brow into narrow culvert 100”. Joanie is focused and deep in concentration, bangs the gear down from 3th to 2rd, with a little blip on the accelerator to keep the revs up, flicks the car into the left hander to line it up for a good exit speed out of the medium right. Here is where it gets a bit hazy. We distinctly remember hearing the revs of the car over the earphones in our helmets, which meant we were where we were supposed to be in the power band. Joanie had the car in a controlled slightly sideways slide before the culvert and knew she had to line the back of the car out to go over the culvert. Perhaps a little panic or apprehension saw Joanie just dab the brake peddle, an absolute “NO NO” in the kind of car we are driving especially in a high speed slide. The rear right hand side of the car stepped out further, the rear wheel crashed through the cement barriers of the culvert, propelling the rear of the car up into the air. We barrel rolled one and a half times on our bonnet and landed on our roof in a six-foot ditch. Calmly, with our arms dangling in front of us while we were securely fastened in our seats, Joanie switched off the safety master-kill-switch and casually remarked, “Uhh Tami, I think we’ve August 2011 39

rolled”, to which I answered, “Darn, I’ve chipped a nail”. Neither of us panicked; some spectators and local Maasai had already dashed to the scene to help and as one rather enthusiastic good samaritan reached in to unbuckle our belts, Joanie growled “Don’t you dare touch my belts”. Having been prepped by our service manager, “In case you ever park your rally car on the roof, don’t make the usual mistake in a moment of panic by undoing the belts and falling head first onto the roof ”. The surprise on the Maasais’ faces as they helped to extricate us from our stricken car was absolutely priceless. They just couldn’t believe a couple of “little mamas” had done such a thing! Once we had confirmed no injuries had been sustained, we asked one of the spectators for his phone and calmly called our service crew to rescue us. They arrived within 10 minutes which gave us ample time to take stock of what had just transpired, what could have been judging our new found pace and to quell our rising tempers at our inexperience. Later on that fateful day, we were informed of the long and illustrious list of far more experienced rally drivers who had rolled at that particular spot and this helped put our experience into perspective. The thing is, we’re here to stay, to learn and succeed, so we’ve dusted off the overalls, shrugged off the roll, learned from it, and we’re raring to go for it in Nakuru at the end of July. There is no keeping a couple of good-ol-girls down,” we resolved firmly.


40 August 2011


Virgin Announces Technical Partnership With McLaren Photo: Alonso’s first win since 2010 Korean GP

Alonso Ends Red Bull Dictatorship, Scores British GP Win for Ferrari


ernando Alonso has clinched the first victory for Ferrari in the 2011 Formula 1 Championship, taking top honours at the Silverstone race track during the British Grand Prix. Red Bull mechanics were also to blame, as they created a fiasco that cost Sebastian Vettel another victory this season. The race looked like it was going to take place in dry conditions, but the typical British weather soon changed that, as a short shower hit right before the start, ensuring that all 24 cars started out with intermediate rain tyres. Red Bull Racing star Sebastian Vettel immediately passed his team-mate Mark Webber to take the lead, while Alonso battled on from third position. By the first half, Vettel looked like a sure bet to win the race, but he was then delayed during a pit stop because the Red Bull crew couldn’t replace a wheel in time. Alonso took advantage of this and passed him in the pits. In the end, Vettel took second place with Webber rounding out the top three positions. Vettel remains at the head of the Drivers’ Championship points table with a convincing lead of 80 points over second placed Webber, who has 124 points. With his latest win, Alonso stands in third place with 112 points

Here are the results of the British Grand Prix at Siverstone: 1. Alonso - Ferrari: 1h28:41.194 2. Vettel - Red Bull-Renault: +16.511 3. Webber - Red Bull-Renault: +16.947 4. Hamilton - McLaren: +28.986 5. Massa - Ferrari: +29.010 6. Rosberg - Mercedes: +1:00.665 7. Perez - Sauber-Ferrari: +1:05.590 8. Heidfeld - Renault: +1:15.542 9. Schumacher - Mercedes: +1:17.912 10. Alguersuari - Rosso-Ferrari: +1:19.1 11. Sutil - India-Mercedes: +1:19.712 12. Petrov - Renault: +1:20.600 13. Barrichello - Williams-Cosworth: +1 lap 14. Maldonado - Williams-Cosworth: +1 lap 15. Di Resta - Force India-Mercedes: +1 lap 16. Glock - Virgin-Cosworth: +2 laps 17. D’Ambrosio - Virgin-Cosworth: +2 laps 18. Liuzzi - HRT-Cosworth: +2 laps 19. Ricciardo - HRT-Cosworth: +3 laps

August 2011 41

Marussia Virgin Racing has concluded a long-term technical partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies which will see the team gaining access to McLaren facilities, knowledge and capabilities. The deal includes McLaren’s test rigs and driver-in-the-loop simulator, supply chain experience and CFD and CAE techniques including race strategy tools. This couldn’t come a moment sooner, as the Anglo-Russian team has been struggling due to its decision to cut costs wherever possible. Last year, the team skipped wind-tunnel testing in favour of designing its car entirely using computers, and it hasn’t exactly done wonders for them. “When we undertook our detailed review of the team in the first half of 2011, it was clear that our bold ambitions for the future would need to be matched with some equally bold steps towards achieving them. I am delighted that in a relatively short space of time, we are now in the fantastic position of being able to make these two very important announcements, which will enable us to make some dramatic strides forward with immediate effect,” commented Andy Webb, Chief Executive Officer of Marussia Virgin Racing. “McLaren Applied Technologies is delighted to have entered into a technical partnership with Marussia Virgin Racing. Under the terms of this partnership, Marussia Virgin Racing will be able to access McLaren’s wind tunnel, simulator, rigs, and fitness and wellbeing programmes. These properties are stateof-the-art, and we confidently therefore expect Marussia Virgin Racing to derive significant benefits from them,” added Martin Whitmarsh, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Group.


Photo: Ken Anunda(888)) Charles Mugo(3), Shivam Vinayak(96), and Antony Nielson(18) during the first round of the Kenya National Motocross Series,at Jamhurii Race Track



aving already taken his maiden scalp last season, all-rounder Charles Mugo was back in the groove winning his second MX1 career victory. Such was the grit and gusto which characterized round six of Car and General National Motocross Championship at Jamhuri Park racetrack. Having competed aggressively this season, there was no stopping Mugo (Honda 450) who eclipsed his own father Moses Mugo (KTM 525) -and most importantly - series leader Shivam Vinayak who has confirmed his absence in the next meeting in **August. Shivam has opted out to concentrate on studies at Nairobi University. As the heats ended, Mugo saluted spectators in jubilation at the last jump. “First I can say, it felt great to win for the second time and it’s thanks to the Almighty God for the life and kudos to my mum for supporting me to ride vigorously well. My biggest challenge has always been beating Shivam, but this event had a big entry on the gates, so I guess getting the whole shot at the first

corner and with good riders like Anthony (Nielsen) and the rest, it was such challenging fun event,” said Mugo. Spectators thronging Jamhuri Park terraces had a bonus as they bore witness to some clean riding put up by riders in combined heat runs. Cruze “Control” Muigai, the MX2 daredevil Yamaha 250 four-stoke rider, was back to the racetrack with a bang - what with his dazzling jumps and awesome cornering, which eclipsed Shivam twice in the heat runs. Cruze extended his MX2 lead to a flawless 360points beating his cousin Tutu Maina to second overall place as Allan Maina settled for third on the breathtaking MX1 podium dash. The battle for the young diminutive riders was awesome. Maina Wanjigi won the MX50 race on a perfect 60 points score upon dominating the three heats at stake. Jesse Waithaka cruised home second on 51 while Dekker Kihara and Tai Maina took third and fourth respectively. Jesse’s elder brother Jeremy Waithaka made up for his sibling’s undoing to win the MX60 class on 54 points followed by Owain Ashley (45), Mohammed Anwar 42 August 2011

(43), Rolf Kihara (40) and Ryan Bailey (36). Ivan Guya maintained his dogged campaign in search of a maiden MX125 class title when he beat Mwai Kibaki Junior to second while Ted Wanday clung to third place. Apollo’s Mbuki oozed confidence right from the turn of the first corner and was also all smiles on winning MX85class. Samir Anwar was second and Karan Sehmi third.


Oginga Odinga Rd. Opp Moi Flats Near Central Police Station P.O BOX 2388-20100 Phone:+254 51 221 3851 Cell:+254 722 501 229 August 2011 43

BOOK REVIEW Title: Motorcycling Excellence Author: Motorcycle Safety Foundation Available: Local Book Shops

Need to know the basics of Motorcycling? this is the book for you


his is the most authoritative book ever published on safe riding techniques and strategies for current and prospective motorcyclists who want to do it right. Founded in 1973, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) is recognised internationally for its rider-training curriculum, which has been used worldwide by thousands of trainers in teaching more than three million mo-

torcyclists the skills necessary to stay safe and have fun on the road. This book is the essence of what the MSF has learned about teaching students of all ages and experience levels. It is the definitive reference for the sport - a perfect refresher for anyone who has ever taken an MSF course, and an eye-opener for those who haven’t. In a clear, engaging style with detailed diagrams and extensive full-colour photographs and illustrations, the book covers rider attitude, protective riding gear, pre-ride inspection, maintenance, and troubleshooting, as well as basic and advanced street skills. Tips on how to create a ‘space cushion’ to avoid traffic hazards; stop quickly; countersteer for better control; manage traction; position your body for smoother, more consistent riding; travel skillfully and safely in a group; maneuvre effectively and efficiently in off-highway riding; and, much more, are included. The new edition also features advice from legendary racers Kevin Schwantz, Nick

44 August 2011

Ienatsch, Freddie Spencer, Rich Oliver, and Reg Pridmore, as well as contributions from Erik Buell on motorcycle geometry, Keith Code on countersteering, and Paul Thede on suspension adjustment, among other experts. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s hands-on RiderCoursesSM have been responsible for sparking in many people a lifelong passion for motorcycling. As they remind us, ‘The More You Know, The Better It Gets’! This new edition of “Motorcycling Excellence” provides the opportunity for every motorcyclist to discover for him or herself the thrills and joys of ‘riding right’ by getting the best from self and machine.

MUST WATCH Title: Cars2 Available: Fox Cineplex Saarit, Westgate Rating: ***** Director: John Lesseter Music: Michael Giacchino PG rating, 107 minutes


ixar’s 2006 release Cars is widely regarded as among the less dazzling of the animation house’s dozen sterling titles, so it’s fair to imagine that John Lasseter and his pit crew felt motivated to use a little extra elbow grease in order to deliver an improved new model. On the whole, they have, as Lightning McQueen and the loyal pickup truck Mater quickly vamoose from sleepy Radiator Springs to join the Grand Prix circuit in a succession of world capitals, where they become entangled in some related international spy intrigue. Featuring cooler cars and more action than Fast Five, Cars 2 is notably less refined and more rambunctious than Pixar’s recent run of artistic gems. But commercially, it’ll be off to the races this summer, with even bigger international prospects assured on this lap than on the first spin. The story, cooked up by Lasseter, co-director Brad Lewis and Dan Fogelman and scripted by Ben Queen, is both simple and not always entirely discernible on a moment-to-moment basis. At the outset, in fact, the coordinates are geographically and dramatically inscrutable; physically, the action begins literally at sea, amidst an ocean of sinister oil rigs infiltrated by British spies Finn McMissile (an Aston Martin voiced by Michael Caine) and Miata-like Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer), who make use of all their special extra-automotive endowments -- wings, heavy weaponry, underwater capability -- to make a nocturnal escape with their dignity and paint jobs intact. A world away in the American desert, the spiffy red Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is hot-rodding around with tow-truck buddy Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) when he’s persuaded to enter an upcoming series of races in which big shot Land Rover Sir Miles Axlerod (Eddie Izzard) hopes to prove the viability of his revolutionary clean fuel Allinol as a substitute for gasoline. Here, as elsewhere, the visual, verbal and musical jokes practically exceed the speed limit; one blink-and-you-miss-it gag shows the marquee of the local drive-in promoting “The Incredimobiles.” First stop is Tokyo, where cars engage in sumo wrestling and the lights of the Ginza district look so bright you’re glad for the slight dimming effect of the 3D glasses (Pixar typically amps up the brightness of its images to compensate for the darkening). Next stop is fictional Porto Corsa, an Italian seaside jewel that resembles a theme park version of Monaco. The Italian champion, Francesco ( John Turturro), intends to assert his dominance over Lightning McQueen here, while a disguised Mater tries to infiltrate a gang of low-end Euro cars working on behalf of unknown bosses out to discredit the Allinol vehicles so as to maintain the demand for oil. The message is clear. The in-fighting becomes downright vicious during the final race in LonAugust 2011 45

Voice cast: Larry the Cable Guy, Owen Wilson, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Eddie Izzard, John Turturro, Brent Musburger, Joe Mantegna, Thomas Kretschmann, Peter Jacobson, Bonnie Hunt, Darrell Waltrip, Franco Nero, Dvid Hobbs, Tony Shalhoub, Jeff Garlin

don in front of the Queen, while the picture itself becomes rather more antic and frantic than it needs to as the ultimate villain is exposed, the British spies are vindicated and the Americans, while happy in their achievements, typically decide that there’s no place like home. Even as recent Pixar films have benefitted from increased simplicity and modulation of mood and effect, Lasseter keeps Cars 2 running at close to the red line from start to finish with **nary a pit stop to refuel. On balance, it’s more exhilarating than exhausting, but there are moments when sensory overload threatens to set in. More is better seems to be the by-word, but a bit less aw-shucks humour and Looney Tuneslike madness over the long haul would have made for a more agreeable balance. The vocal talent assembled for the voices is impressively varied and deep; even for small roles one finds enlisted such estimable actors as Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Isaacs, Jenifer Lewis, Franco Nero, Katherine Helmond and Paul Dooley, not to mention Cheech Marin, Brent Musburger, Deadliest Catch star Sig Hansen and race car drivers such as Darrell Waltrip, David Hobbs and Jeff Gordon. Michael Giacchino’s score has the effect of a super-charger on the film, as if it needed one.

MOTORSPORT ( Jeremy Burgess (left) and Valentino Rossi at Assen)

2012 Moto3 Engine Presented at Mugello

Rossi Short of Crew Chief, Jeremy Burgess Misses Mugello



s many of you know, Moto3 will be replacing the current 125cc class in 2012, using a new 250cc four-stroke engine. The first prototype engine for Moto3 was presented by the Giampiero Sacchi, owner of the Ioda Racing Project team, at the eighth round of the 2011 season at Mugello this ***past weekend, with the chassis to be revealed this September. The unit is claimed to produce more than 50 horsepower and has been dyno tested in a version for karts, as well as stress tested for reliability. The single-cylinder 250cc four-stroke prototype engine reportedly weighs in at 20.6 kg (45.4 lbs), with titanium con rod and valves, extractable gear box, and a dry slipper clutch. According to Sacchi, the cost will be EUR12,000 plus IVA (Italian VAT). “This is the second step of the Ioda project, the third will be in the fall, when we present the bike for next year’s World

Championship,” Sacchi was quoted as saying by “It all started on October 26 last year in Estoril, with the presentation of the TR001 (a prototype bike). That day was a crucial step because then, with Roberto (Papetti, the project lead), we began to build and develop this engine, and we are pleased to present it to enthusiasts and fans.” Ioda Racing Project collaborated with Robby Motor Technology to form a new company, Emir (EMIR GP 3) to develop the engine. “Moto3 is a category where the necessary technology isn’t only available to the big manufacturers, but also to small engineering firms. What these small firms lack in production capacity then can make up for close client relationships. This class is very interesting, it is an inviting challenge,” added Sacchi.

46 August 2011

s if things were not dark enough for Valentino Rossi, who experiences difficulties in finding the right settings for his Ducati bike, The Doctor still has to face further obstacles this season. The team announced that Rossi’s crew chief, Jeremy Burgess, will not be present at Mugello. Burgess had to return to Australia to be with his wife, who must undergo a series of medical exams and a possible urgent surgical procedure. Replacing Burgess will be Max Bartolini, who normally works as Team Technical Manager on the Ducati Marlboro Team. Fabiano Sterlacchini will fill that role. He normally works as Team Technical Manager and Track Engineer for Loris Capirossi but will miss the Italian GP due to injury. “First of all I’d like to wish good luck to Jeremy, who won’t be able to join us due to very important personal reasons. We’ll miss him very much in the garage, but we look forward to seeing him at the Sachsenring,” said Rossi, sending his best wishes to Burgess. “In the meantime, we must try to do well at Mugello. We’ve ridden there with the GP12, but because our bike is an 800, it responds a little differently to adjustments, and it’s also in its first phase of development. It will be vital to quickly find the right path for the setup, as it’s important that we improve in every session in order to qualify in a good position,” the Italian added. “The track is one of my favourites, and I’ve always done pretty well there. Returning after last year’s accident is no problem for me, because I enjoyed riding there during the recent tests, as I always do. I hope there will be a big crowd and that I’ll be able to do better than we’ve managed until now, because this is a very important race,” concluded Rossi, confident in a good result.

I didn’t even breathe on the final lap. That’s how close it was. I knew if I had breathed, (St. Joseph) was going to have a great chance to win the race. I had to keep motoring. -Owen Black

August issue 10  
August issue 10  

In this edition, read about the all new Mazda Rx8, The RX-8’s formula of four adult-sized seats, rear-hinged ‘free-style’ doors, a large boo...