Continental champion Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo clocked 01:47:09.1 to win the eighth leg of the 2021 Kenya National Rally Championship ( KNRC) series in Thika on Sunday.
Navigated by longstanding co-driver Tim Jessop in a Mitsubishi Evolution 10, Tundo beat defending Champion Baldev Chager by 00:29.4 seconds.
This is the fourth victory Tundo is registering in the gruelling curcuit that has visited Nakuru, Naivasha (twice) for ARC Equator Rally and the WRC Safari Rally, Voi, Machakos, Ramisi and Nanyuki.
Tundo was the victor on ARC Equator Rally in Naivasha in April, in his Mini Motorsport VW Polo R5.
He also won the Machakos Rally and Nanyuki in his R4 Evolution machine.
“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,” said Tundo.
Third overall in Thika was CRS Racing Jasmeet Chana who completed the podium dash in 01:52:15.5.
Tundo rallied from fifth fastest in the opening 30km Buffalo Hills section where he picked up a puncture but pulled through with first fastest on SS2 Ananas stage.
Chager made good progress as the rally went on.
Despite finishing second, Chager picked bonus championship points for winning the power stage which was the repeat run of Ndula stretch.
His navigator Ravi Soni was nevertheless left to rue their nightmarishly first loop experience more so at the Buffalo Hills which was the toughest in the seven stage rally.
“Today was a difficult day for us. Our rear left driveshaft broke in SS1. So we went in 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 the three stages. Buffalo was actually a very difficult one,” said Soni.
Out of the 16 starters who commenced the high- attrition contest, only seven managed the demanding conditions at Mount Kenya University Thika campus which also hosted the service park, Rally Hqs and the 3.2km super special stage 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 Sh 20,000 for deviating from the course twice.
Mwangi, on the other hand, was also fined Sh 20,000 and a further 10,000 for failing to honor the summons of the stewards.
The trio were found to be in breach of Article 11.11B of the KMSF National Competition Rules (NCRs).
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.
McRae also won Division One class.
Hamza Anwar who is also 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 the division one.
Seventh was former Two Wheel Drive champion Daren Miranda who teamed up with Amman Shah in a Subaru Impreza.
KCB Guru Nanak Rally will wrap up the 2021 KNRC season in Stony Athi on December 12.
KCB Thika Rally selected results
1.Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop EVOX 01:47:09.1
2. Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni
3.Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana
4.McRae Kimathi/ Mwangi Jioni Ford Fiesta R5 01:56:58.5
5.Maxine Wahome/Linet Ayuko Subaru Impreza 02:03:32.1
6.John Ng’a ng’a /Edward Ndukui Subaru Impreza 02:13:14.6
7.Daren Miranda /Amman Shah Subaru Impreza 02:19:13.5