Nikhil Sachania aims for a podium finish at the Safari Rally

Nikhil Sachania has defied all the odds to become the only paraplegic driver to participate in the Safari Rally for the fourth year running since the return of the iconic event to the Kenyan gravel in 2021.

Nikhil Sachania

Nikhil Sachania has become a force to be reckoned with in the local motorsports scene. The soft spoken 2014 Motorsports Personality of the Year has defied all the odds to become the only paraplegic driver to participate in the Safari Rally for the fourth year running since the return of the iconic event to the Kenyan gravel in 2021.

His relentless pursuit for excellence has seen him dominate local circuits clinching 3 SPV championships, Division 3 championship, Group N championship, finishing fourth under Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) category in the 2022 WRC Safari Rally and a podium finish last year where he came third in the KNRC category while finishing 20th overall in the Safari Rally.

The KCB racing team driver alongside his longtime navigator Deep Patel have been competing in their favorite Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X for many years, underscoring the vehicle’s remarkable durability. The duo expressed their delight in the fact that this year, Safari Rally is moving back to its traditional Easter weekend for the first time in 27 years.

Nikhil Sachania

“I think it’s a great idea to have the Safari Rally back to the original dates. With it being over the holiday period it will draw a bigger crowd to the event. This will be instrumental in ensuring that we put our best foot forward to fly the Kenyan flag high in the global competition that will be watched by millions of people all over the world,” noted an ecstatic Nikhil.

Nikhil has won millions of hearts since he started rallying in 2014, despite a life changing accident in 2011 while testing his new quad bike with Shazar Anwar and Zane Young trying to get ready for his would-be first National event, it did not deter his drive to be one of the best rally drivers to ever emerge in the country.

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

Together with Deep, Nikhil Sachania is part of the KCB racing team for this year’s WRC Safari Rally scheduled for March 28-31 in Naivasha, Nakuru County – the third leg of the world circuit which marks four years since the return of the legendary event to the Kenyan soil.

He has promised to push the car to the limit and maintain a steady pace. Taking part in the past three Safari Rally events has shown the duo the challenges that comes with the grueling course and ever-changing weather. He also expressed his excitement after partnering with KCB for the third year.

Nikhil Sachania

“I am very grateful to have KCB onboard again for the WRC. This is our 3rd year in partnership with them. The support that KCB provides helps us prepare the car and ourselves as a team for the grueling four-day event. Without their support I'm very sure it would not be possible for us to take part and perform as we do at this major event,” said Nikhil.

According to the driver, the local rallying scene has seen some declining entries. He acknowledged that we have great roads and organizers that put on fantastic events. But, with the tough economy, it becomes difficult to run the local circuits since rallying isn't a cheap sport.

He believes support from big cooperations can help bring back the entries to where they were. Lower entry fees and giving incentives to drivers may push them to come back and race. With the shuffle at Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF) leadership, he believes they have plans on how they can turn it around.

Aside from his heroics behind the wheels, Nikhil, who enjoys online gaming, and woodworking recently received his PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) license as an open water scuba diver.