What you need to know:
- Sponsors Safaricom reward sensational driver alongside Rally Star Programme teammates.
- Star’s exploits also appreciated, on social media, by no lesser person than Great Britain’s Formula One star Lewis Hamilton.
Just weeks ago, Maxine Wahome was hardly known to many, not even some motorsports purists.
But her exploits at last weekend’s WRC Safari Rally — where she clocked a cumulative time of five hours, 20 minutes and 21 seconds to win the WRC3 category — have catapulted her to instant global fame.
Powered by a sound financial support from, among others, Safaricom, Maxine led the charge by the four Ford Fiesta R3 cars, the others featuring young compatriots McRae Kimathi, Jeremiah Wahome and Hamza Anwar.
Her lead sponsors Safaricom returned the favour on Thursday by gifting Maxine a Sh1 million reward for her exploits that were also appreciated, on social media, by no lesser person than Great Britain’s Formula One star Lewis Hamilton.
On his Instagram account, seven-time world champion Hamilton celebrated the fact that Maxine is the first woman to win a major category of a World Rally Championship event since German Isolde Holdereid won the Group N Cup in 1994 in Italy’s Sanremo Rally.
On top of Safaricom’s Sh1 million gift, Maxine will join McRae, Hamza and Jeremiah at the next World Rally Championship (WRC) event, Rally Estonia, which runs from July 14 to 17, and the subsequent round in Greece (September 8 to 11) as part of the FIA Star programme training.
“I am delighted for the splendid performance from our four youngsters during the just concluded WRC Safari Rally,” Safaricom’s CEO Peter Ndegwa celebrated Maxine and the young drivers on Thursday.
“They promised to make us proud and indeed they delivered. They have proven their resilience in the sport and confirmed to the world that Kenya has a great future in motorsport.
“As Safaricom, we will continue encouraging and supporting our young people to Go Beyond in their careers.”
Maxine is always cool, calm and collected and your typical, media-shy star.
“I am very grateful to my sponsors Safaricom and Kenya Airways for believing in me and offering me amazing support, which enabled me to feature and win in this year’s Safari Rally,” she appreciated Safaricom’s largesse.
“I feel proud to be the first female rally driver in the country to win in the WRC3 category. This is indeed a great milestone in my rallying career and I want to encourage more young ladies to join me in this field.”
The four drivers will be accompanied to Europe by their navigators Murage Waigwa (Maxine), Victor Okundi (Jeremiah), Mwangi Kioni (McRae) and Adnan Din (Hamza).