Hamza Anwar “Problem Child” A Rising Star of Kenyan Rallying


By Mwambazi Lawrence

In 2017, a young talent emerged onto the Kenyan rallying scene, bringing with him a fresh wave of competition and determination. Known affectionately as “Problem Child,” Anwar’s story begins on the rugged terrain of Kenyan autocross events, where drivers navigate through twin or single tracks solo, without a co-driver.

By 2018, Anwar’s growing reputation earned him a buggy, alongside valuable sponsorships, propelling him further into the spotlight. That same year, he made his rally debut at the Mini Classic, facing formidable competition over five intense days and clinching a commendable 7th place overall. This marked the beginning of Anwar’s rallying odyssey. Undeterred by challenges, Anwar invested in a Toyota Sprinter in 2018, securing additional sponsorships to support his burgeoning career. His perseverance paid off when he secured a commendable 10th place finish in a KNRC event, showcasing his potential among seasoned competitors.

Transitioning into the 4WD class in 2019, Anwar’s trajectory faced a temporary hiatus as he pursued studies abroad in the UK. However, his passion for rallying reignited upon his return in 2020, as he debuted a Subaru GVB at the prestigious Guru Nanak Rally in Tanzania. Anwar’s exceptional performance not only earned him acclaim but also bestowed upon him the moniker “Toto Tundo” in Tanzania, a testament to his awe-inspiring skills.

Anwar’s meteoric rise continued unabated into 2021, highlighted by a podium finish at the Equator Rally, where he secured 3rd place in the ARC category and 5th in the KNRC class. His prowess behind the wheel attracted the attention of the Rally Star Project, leading to a transition to a Ford Fiesta R3, symbolizing a new chapter in his rallying journey.

Kenya’s McRae Kimathi (L), Hamza Anwar(C), Jeremiah Wahome(R)

Despite his accolades, Anwar remains resolute in his pursuit of victory, acknowledging the hurdles he’s faced. While victory has eluded him thus far, Anwar’s back-to-back Junior Africa Rally Championship titles in 2022 and 2023 attest to his unwavering determination and promise for the future.

Reflecting on the state of Kenyan rallying, Anwar acknowledges economic challenges but remains optimistic about its resurgence, citing the emergence of new talent and the upgrading of fellow drivers’ vehicles as signs of vitality within the sport.

The return of the Safari Rally after a 19-year hiatus signifies a watershed moment for Kenyan motorsport, according to Anwar. He lauds the government’s support and anticipates a surge in interest and competition, heralding Kenya’s rightful place on the global rallying stage.

Venturing beyond African shores, Anwar describes his experiences in international competitions as both exhilarating and challenging. Competing against the world’s elite in the Junior World Rally Championship has honed his skills and broadened his horizons, despite setbacks attributed to inexperience.

Kenyan youngster Hamza Anwar in one of the JWRC events

Comparing his transition from a Group N car to the Ford Fiesta R3, Anwar emphasizes the importance of driver skill, affirming his adaptability to any vehicle. He praises the Ford Fiesta R3’s advanced technology and performance capabilities, albeit acknowledging the financial implications of maintaining such a machine.

Hamza Anwar powering his Evox in the Mt Gorilla rally 2023

Looking ahead to the WRC Safari Rally, Anwar embraces the challenge of piloting a 2WD Rally5 Ford Fiesta, underscoring his determination to maximize performance despite the odds. With meticulous preparation and a steely resolve, Anwar aims to defy expectations and showcase the potential of his “little dudu” on the grandest stage of them all.

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