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Tundo wins Equator Rally as the Safari beckons

TOP & above: Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo flies out and lands in Kedong’ on his way to victory in the FIA ARC Equator Rally in Naivasha, Kenya. And below, time for big smile. Pictures/MOHAMMED AMIN, WRC Safari Rally Kenya Media Dept and ALVIN KIBET, ‘Pool’

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From NAIVASHA, NAKURU COUNTY, Sunday

“I drove like a Granny”, said Kenya’s Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo after winning his first Africa Rally Championship (ARC) Equator Rally here in today.

“I had a healthy lead [on Day 2] and didn’t want to risk anything. The essence was to just get the car back in one piece.” Said Tundo who defied early morning torrential rains and muddy conditions to storm to victory on his very first outing with the Minti Motorsports VW Polo R5. The five-time Safari Rally winner thrived through wet conditions as he led the Kenya round of the continental series from start to finish.

Kenya’s Tejveer Rai, above and below was runners-up. Picture/MOHMMED AMIN, WRC Safari Rally Kenya Media Dept

Tundo’s prowess in the wet and slippery roads of Leg One’s Soysambu section in Naivasha on Sunday earned him a massive 12:08.6 minutes’ margin victory over compatriot Tejveer Rai (VW Polo R5) as Uganda’s Jas Mangat (Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 03:03:32.1, completed the podium. South African Guy Botterill (Toyota Etios R5) was time-barred at service while lying third.

Tundo scored back-to-back fastest times on the Malewa and Loldia sections to extend his lead to 10:10.3 minutes after the 53.72km three-stage loop.

 

 

Uganda’s Jas Mangat completed the podium. Picture/Courtesy ALVIN KIBET

Onkar Rai was fastest through the Kedong stage. Tundo, who is known to be the master of muddy conditions, had dominated Saturday’s Soysambu leg, where he claimed the day’s six stages to build a massive 07:15.1 minutes lead over Tejveer Rai.

The two-day event claimed top drivers former winner Baldev Chager, Onkar Rai and Ian Duncan on Day 1 but who rejoined the race on Leg 2 on the ‘Super Rally’ rule which allows competitors to restart but suffer penalties of each stage missed. Tundo won six of the 11 stages.

Day 2

 

After the victory, he said: “It’s amazing. It’s always good to win. I am not going for the ARC obviously, but I am happy to get maximum points in the first event.”

He added: “Had it not been for Onkar Rai snatching the Kedong stage, I would have won all the 11 stages. The volcanic ash soil in Kedong gave us a little more grip so it was actually a really nice stage.”

Water was largely a challenge …. Picture/Courtesy MWANGI KIRUBI

Tundo was overly excited about the new car that he will be using for the WRC Safari Rally Kenya slated for June 24-27 this year. “The new car is fantastic. I was able to adapt to new conditions. It’s always good to know the roads and know what we have to tackle. But obviously, WRC guys (the expected overseas visitors) are in a different league, so we’ll just be fighting among ourselves at the back,” he said.

Guy Botterill took the battle to East Africans and after coming to the end thinking he had grabbed a podium finish, he was disappointed to have been time barred at service./Picture Courtesy MWANGI KIRUBI

Had he not been “retired” after coming tio the finish and holding a third place, battling South African Botterill would have extended his lead on the ARC log with 50 points. Disappointed, he candidly admitted his Toyota R5 car took quite a beating.

“We struggled quite a bit on Leg 2 on the Kedong stage. Our car once again suffered overheating. It was a really tough stage for us. We took it cautiously as no one risked pushing. We just needed to score points without any damage. The WRC is going to be a very long and hard event,” said Botteril.

Uganda’s Kephar Walubi was doing well on Day One, Saturday but faltered. Picture/Courtesy MWANGI KIRUBI

The Equator Rally is precursor to the World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari to be held on the same tracks, but with more stages (total 18). The healthy entry in the Equator by drivers from Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Rwanda pointed at serious preparation for drivers in the region to put up a fight against best drivers in the world during the Safari.

The toast … Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo, right and Tim Jessop./Picture/Courtesy ‘POOl’

Equator Rally, 24-04-2021, was over:

Day 1

(Loop 1)

SS1 Elmentaita 1 (14.7 km)

SS2 Soysambu 1 (20.33km)

SS3 Sleeping Warrior 1 (30.98km)

(Loop 2)

SS4 Elmentaita 2 (14.67km)

SS5 Soysambu 2 (20.33km)

SS6 Sleeping Warrior 2 (20.33km)

Total: 131km

Day 2

(Loop 1)

SS7 Malewa 1 (9.71km)

SS8 Loldia 1 (11.33km)

SS9 Kedong’ (32.68km)

(Loop 2)

SS10 Malewa 2 (9.71km)

SS11 Loldia 2 (11.33km)

Total: 74.76km

The WRC Safari Rally – June 24-27 – will have in addition more, provisionally adding further stages including:

Day 1

SS1 Kasarani Spectator Stage

SS2/SS5 Chui Lodge (13.34km)

SS2/SS5 Chui Lodge 1&2 (13.34km)

SS4/SS7 Oserian 1&2 (19.13km)

SS15 & SS18 Hell’s Gate (10.39km)

Kenya’s Eric Bengi on the stoney Malewa climb. Picture/Courtesy ‘POOL’

Acacia world, Lake Naivasha …/Picture/Courtesy ‘POOL’

FINAL CLASSIFICATION:

1. Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (KEN-Volkswagen Polo) 02:34:08.8 3
2.  Tejveer Rai/ Gareth Dawe (KEN-Volkswagen Polo) 02:46:17.4
3.  Jas Mangat/Kamya Joseph (UG-Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 03:03:32.1
4. Giancarlo Davite/Sylvia Vindevogel     (RWA -Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 03:06:39.1
5.  Hamza Anwar / Riyaz Ismail (KEN-Subaru Impreza GVB)           03:10:08.3
6. Onkar Rai/Drew Sturrock  (KEN-Volkswagen Polo) 03:11:18.5
7.  Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana    (KEN-Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 03:13:38.7
8. McRae Kimathi/ Shameer Yusuf (KEN-Subaru Impreza) 03:13:51.2
9. Baldev Chager/ Ravi Soni (KEN-Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 03:14:28.4
10. Steve Mwangi/ Dennis Mwenda (KEN-Subaru Impreza) 03:15:24.4
11. Nzioka Waita/ Tuta Mionki (KEN-Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 03:17:30.
12.  Piero Canobbio/James Mwangi (KEN-Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 03:17:49.3
13. Evans Kavisi /Absolom Aswani (KEN-Mitsubishi Evolution 10   03:18:20.3
14. Ian Duncan/Tej Sehmi (KEN-Nissan 240RS) 03:20:43.9
15. Eric Bengi/Peter Mutuma (KEN – Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 03:21:37.2
16. Kailesh Chauhan /Tariq Malik (KEN-Ford Escort RS) 03:22:40.8
17.  Geoff Mayes/Suzanne Zwager (KEN-Land Rover Tomcat)     03:41:46.7
18. Yasin Nasser/ Ali Katumba (KEN-Subaru Impreza)      04:08:13.8

– Peter Njenga and ARC Equator Rally Info Team

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