No foot pedal, no problem for Sachania in third tilt at Safari

Nikhil Sachania

Driver Nikhil Sachania works on his specially modified Mitsubishi Evolution 10 rally car at the Equator Rally Service Park in Naivasha on April 2, 2022. Sachania suffered spinal injuries which have for the last 10 years restrained him in a wheelchair following a serious accident in a quad competition.

Photo credit: Peter Njenga | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Sachania is the only paraplegic driver in Africa who has a custom-built rally car with no foot pedals.
  • The operation of his hand-controlled car is a simple push and pull lever mechanism, pull to accelerate and push to brake.

The WRC Safari Rally will be a special occasion for one of the Kenyan drivers who is determined to excel despite his physical challenges.

Nikhil Sachania drives a specially manufactured rally car after he was injured during a Quad practice in Athi River in 2012. The impact damaged his spine.
Sachania is the only paraplegic driver in Africa and has a custom-built rally car that has no foot pedals.

Instead the pedals for acceleration and breaking are operated by hand.

The operation of his hand-controlled car is a simple push and pull lever mechanism -- pull to accelerate and push to brake.

He has dominated the Special Public Vehicle (SPV) championship and won the coveted title thrice in 2014, 15 and 19.

The 34-year-old driver is now getting set for his third WRC Safari Rally.

“The last two years of the Safari Rally have been very challenging. It has been an enjoyable event. I enjoy the atmosphere of the crowds, it’s a different experience from our local rallies. The stages are very demanding and tough,” Sachania told Nation Sport.

“I am sponsored by KCB in this year’s Safari Rally. I will drive my Mitsubishi Lancer and I am looking forward to improving on my performance of last year,” he said.

He finished 18th overall in last year’s Safari Rally and third in the KNRC Class.
In 2019, he was given a grant by the FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission.

Racing overalls, Fuel tank and fire suppression kit were some of the donated items he also received.

The FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission offers support to drivers living with disabilities through the no-cost supply of a range of safety equipment.

FIA provides support to drivers living with disabilities who participate in at least five races per year sanctioned by their National Sporting Authority (ASN).

The grant is intended to make motorsport more accessible without compromising safety.

The FIA created the Disability and Accessibility Commission to ensure accessible racing and motoring across both the sport and mobility pillars.

The reigning three-time Kenyan SPV Champion has a certified safety fuel tank which is one of the items that are needed for a car to be eligible for WRC Safari Rally.

Sachania will be allowed a the maximum number of eight crew members including the drivers for the service crew in the Safari Rally. Their team manager will be Tinu Khan.

Sachania and his navigator, Deep Patel, are one of the 11 local crews preparing for next month’s Safari Rally.