Five-time Safari winner Carl “Flash” Tundo clinched victory at the Sarago Zambia International Motor Rally to extend his lead on top of the log at the 2021 FIA Africa Rally Championship (ARC).
Navigated by Tim Jessop in a Minti Motorsport VW Polo R5, Tundo beat South African Guy Boterril and Ugandan Yassin Nasser to second and third respectively. Zambia’s feat went down as Tundo’s third successive win of the season after the ARC Equator Rally in Kenya and the Rally of Tanzania.
The Zambian round saw the home fans endure the heartbreak of watching home hero Leroy Gomes (Ford Fiesta R5), Mohammed Esssa and Muna Singh Jnr fall by the wayside.
Gomes was well on course for greater things when he trailed Tundo by 11 seconds after the 10th competitive stage. But going into the last stage, he broke a drive shaft.
Muna Singh Jnr, son of legendary two- times Africa Champion Muna Singh, hit a tree and kissed the home rally goodbye with mechanical damage.
Tundo too had his share of troubles after he picked up two punctures in the last stage but made it out of the section to finish the demanding Zambian round. Tundo ran fastest on the qualifying stage on Friday and chose to start fourth on the road.
“The boys had a puncture in the 10th stage which they managed to change in a record time,” Tundo’s team, Minti Motorsport wrote in a Facebook newsfeed. Tundo was the overnight leader on Saturday following six competitive stages on the day’s itinerary.,
Tundo is hoping to clinch his first continental title to make a double of championship wins as he continues to lead both the ARC and Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) logs.
The multiple former Kenyan champion wants to repeat the unprecedented double made by compatriot Jassi Singh who won both titles in 2015.
Zambian fans had pegged their hopes on Leroy to stop the East African dominance but not until he crashed out on home stretch.
A gutted fan speaking on a live stream of Zambia Motor Sport Association said:
“It is really sad for Zambia. I mean, the difference between Carl and Leroy was only 11 seconds at some point. So, I was only hoping to see Leroy’s R5 machine cruise into the last stage. To my surprise, I only saw Boterril coming. So all hopes were shattered when we didn’t see Leroy go through the stage. We came in numbers to support him, but then again that’s rallying.”