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Motor Sports

Carl Tundo edges closer to Kenya National Rally title

Carl Tundo and Tim Jessop celebrate their win at the Thika Rally

Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo moved closer to clinching the Kenya National Rally Championship (NKRC) title after earning his fourth win of the season with victory in Thika over the weekend.

This is the penultimate rally of the 2021 season and Tundo’s victory takes him clear on top.

Navigated by longstanding co-driver Tim Jessop in a Mitsubishi Evolution 10, Tundo clocked 01:47:09.1hours to beat series Champion Baldev Chager by 00:29.4 seconds.

Tundo, the reigning African Rally Champion had already clinched victories at the ARC Equator Rally, Machakos and Nanyuki Rallies.

“It’s such a great feeling emerging the winner in Thika. We got a puncture in the opening stage and began our recovery on the second stage. We managed to hold it steady until the end and I must say thanks to my team for the effort that saw us emerge winners,” said Tundo as he savoured the victory.

Carl Tundo and Tim Jessop celebrate their win at the Thika Rally

He now holds the leadership slot on top of the standings and will hope for another flawless ride when the season concludes in Soni Athi with the Guru Nanak Rally on December 12.

Tundo rallied from fifth fastest in the opening 30km Buffalo Hills section where he picked up a puncture but pulled through with the fastest time on the SS2 Ananas stage.

Despite finishing second, Chager picked bonus championship points for winning the power stage which was the repeat run of the Ndula stage.

His navigator Ravi Soni was nevertheless left to rue their nightmarishly first loop experience more so at Buffalo Hills which was the toughest in the seven-stage rally.

Drivers at the Thika Rally

“Today was a difficult day for us. At SS1 our rear left driveshaft broke, so we went in the three-wheel drive. We also stopped to check what exactly the problem was and we lost over a minute on that. Coming back to the last loop, we took all three stages. Buffalo was actually a very difficult stage,” said Soni.

Meanwhile, Jasmeet Chana completed the podium dash after coming home third in a time of 01:52:15.5.

Out of the 16 starters who started the high-attrition rally, only seven managed the demanding conditions at MKU Thika campus which also hosted the service park, Rally Headquarters, and the 3.2km super special at the Graduation Pavilion.

Three competitors Peiro Canobbio, Aakif Virani, and Steve Mwangi were disqualified for going off the route. Both Piero and Aakif were fined Sh20,000 for twice deviating from the route course.

Team Kabras on the course

Mwangi, on the other hand, was fined Sh30,000, added on a Sh10,000 for failing to honor the summons of the stewards.

The rough and tough nature of the Rallye Sports Club (RSC) round also claimed a number of drivers including Eric Bengi who kissed the event goodbye barely 2km into the opening stage at Buffalo Hills

“We hit a rock on the first stage and broke the front suspension arm,” said Bengi.

FIA Star Driver McRae Kimathi came fourth in his Ford Fiesta Rally 3 car followed by the all- female crew of Maxine Wahome and Linet Ayuko.

Hamza Anwar who is in the Rally Star program retired in the first loop with mechanical gremlins. Home driver John Ng’ang’a navigated by Edward Ndukui came seventh and second in division one.

Seventh was former Two Wheel Drive champion Daren Miranda who teamed up with Amman Shah in a Subaru Impreza.

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