NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – Having already taken some impressive scalps in circuit driving, autocross star Zameer Verjee is overly excited to kick-start a new chapter in his race career.
The three-time back-to-back Two Wheel Drive Non-Turbo Autocross Buggy Champion will be making his Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) debut in the season-opening event in Il-Bisil this weekend.
Zameer will begin his campaign behind the wheel of a Subaru Impreza N10 previously driven by Rehan Shah in the autocross series.
Asked what informs his new project, Zameer says “it reaches a moment when one needs a fresh impetus in their racing careers.
And rallying, which has been associated with the Verjees for donkey’s years, “is the next big thing for him”.
Zameer is grateful to the A-Z Studio Racing team for the opportunity to jump into a rally car for the first time in his racing career.
“It’s such a great feeling, and I’m looking forward to ascertaining just how quickly I can rev the car.”
“I know it’s going to be tough to overcome our teething problems in the car, but I know the team will be able to drum up the much-needed enthusiasm for our new project to blossom!”
“The graduation to the coveted KNRC series is definitely where I belong at this stage in my career, so I’ll be looking to showcase whatever experience gained from Autocross against a highly-competitive field.”
“I have tested the car once and it was handling really well. Rehan sold me the car and has offered lots of free advice on how to stay competitive and focused. It’s such a great experience and something really different from what we were used to in autocross. The Rage Buggy now deserves a break after a cool three years, so hopefully I will use it in selected Rally Raid events.”
Zameer comes from a family line of reputed national race drivers including his dad former Nazir Verjee and Uncle Mo Verjee who was a leading navigator back in the day.
“Being a second-generation driver has its own ups and downs. For one, people expect so much more from your driving given the family name. But then again, there is an enabling environment for one to excel given a strong presence of predecessors and machinery,” narrated Zameer, adding: ‘Preparations for the Bisil Rally are all an in-house affair in our Karen backyard and it’s my father doing the donkey work on the car. The essence is to gain experience and keep improving. Zahir Shah will be navigating me in my first rally.”
As much as Zameer will be the driver with far less mileage in a rally car than any other driver this weekend, he’s confident he’ll be on the pace off the first-time control and be able to make the most of the experience.
“Regardless of where I finish this weekend, we’re all very excited to work with dad again on this project and look forward to seeing him out in service. We intend to run a full season of KNRC.”
The KNRC series is sponsored by Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) through its White Cap beer brand.