South African crew of Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle ready to give Kenyans a run for their money. [Photo: Courtesy]

Legendary Carl ‘Flash” Tundo will be among the stars to watch in the opening leg of the 2021 FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) slated for Naivasha this weekend.

The round, dubbed Equator Rally, has attracted 35 top contenders from the continent and beyond who will be out to wrestle Tundo in the contest.

Tundo heads to the battle on the backdrop of five victories from the ARC Safari legs that have previously combed the venue.

The speedster will battle in his Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-R5 machine that has brought him numerous accolades in the sport.

“We will run a qualifying stage on Friday that should give us the starters for Day One on Saturday,” Clerk of the Course Gurvir Bhabra said.

Expected to give Tundo a run for his money is Kenya’s champion Baldev Singh Chager who will be racing in a similar vehicle.

Just like Chager who has promised to leave no stone unturned in the highly anticipated race, rising star Karan Patel and Hussein Malik are both ready to prove their worthiness in the event.

Malik has been shaping up in a gym in South B estate in Nairobi.

“I have lost enough weight. I feel light, sharp and ready to conquer heights in the game,” noted Malik who was in Lukenya yesterday to test drive his Canadian imported Mitsubishi Evo 10 car.

Rai siblings, Onkar and Tejveer are also expected to ruffle feathers in similar VW Polos which are among the seven R5 cars enlisted.

Regional drivers to watch at the event that will traverse Lake Naivasha and Soysambu Conservancy on Saturday and Sunday are the South African crew of Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle.

The duo have vowed to put up a mighty show that will enable them to fly back home with the trophy.

Also listed in the event are Ugandan speedsters led by Ronald Ssebuguzi aka Sebu, Kepha Walubi, Yasin Nasser, Duncan Mubiru aka Kikankane, Christakis Fitidis and Rajiv Ruparelia. 
Ruparelia is returning to Kenya in two months after featuring in the season-opener, KCB Nakuru Rally.

Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo [File, Standard]

All-Rwanda crew of Giancarlo Davite and his lady co-driver Sylvia Vindevogel are no strangers to Kenyan competitive stages.

The pair has been regular visitors to Kenya and they will be returning to familiar terrain in a Mitsubishi Evolution 10.

Pratul Ghose of United Kingdom and England-based Kenyan Imran Khan will pilot a Volkswagen Polo R5 in their elegant Minti Motorsport.

Another battle will be  among drivers running classic machines with Kailash Chauhan from the Coast and Nairobi based former KNRC Classic Car Champion Jonathan Somen (Ford Escort MK2) going up against legendary Ian Duncan in a Minti Motorsport Nissan 240RS.

Bhabra has highlighted an exciting range of events in the run up to the Equator Rally.
The weekend event will act as a dry run for the Safari World Rally Championship (WRC) slated for June 24-27 in almost the same zone.

Equator will offer various Safari officials including stage commanders, their deputies, set up crew and among others assistant clerks of course an opportunity to savour a real WRC scenario.

Bhabra confirmed that the revived Equator event will use six stages from the WRC Safari route itinerary.

The six are Elementaita, Soysambu, Sleeping Warrior, Loldia, Malewa and Kedong.
The WRC Safari stages omitted from Equator schedule are Kasarani Super Special Stage (SSS), Oserian and Hell’s Gate (Wolf Power Stage).

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