NAIROBI, October 28 – Reigning Kenya National Rally Champion Carl Tundo will lead 39 cars off the ramp in the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Visa Card Rally in Kilifi on Sunday.
Tundo who currently lies second in the championship standings behind Baldev Chager, expressed cautious optimism about the rally whose outcome will have a huge say on who could take the overall title.
“Chager might be feeling some of the pressure now that I have narrowed the gap, but it’s still a big gap so if he drives sensibly I know he will do it,” said Tundo who hopes his Subaru N10 will manage the flat course.
“If the route is smooth we will struggle. The last rally (KCB S&L) was fairly rough and we managed to keep the pace,” he added.
Ugandan driver Riyaz Kurji who participated in June’s KCB Safari Rally will attempt to complete a hatrick of wins at the Coast, a fact which Chager believes will make the race even more compelling.
“He is a very difficult person to judge as when he goes well there is no catching him. Depending on what position he attains he will be a real menace” said Chager.
Like Tundo, Chager and Lee Rose both have two victories in this year’s championship and will be hoping for favourable driving conditions this weekend.
The North Coast has been a good stomping ground for 2005 winner Rose who is third in the standings with 300 points and the stages should suit his powerful Mitsubishi EVO 9.
Former national champion Azar Anwar is also banking on a comfortable route that his Mitsubishi EVO 6 can handle.
“I’ve had to quite a lot of work on the car because it was getting beat up but I hope to test it tonight (Tuesday),” said Azar.
Azar still has a mathematical chance of winning the championship but he admits it won’t be easy judging by the challenge posed by the top three drivers.
“Points wise I still have a chance to win although it will be a long shot but I’m going to try my best and remain in contention and hopefully in a better position by the end of the year,” said Azar.
Azar’s younger brother Asad hopes to improve on last year’s position where he finished second.
“We have tested the car and it’s ready. It’s a long route and we hope to just hang in there and with Kurji’s entry the rally is even more interesting,” said Asad.
Alistair Cavenagh is the notable absentee in this weekend’s event which will also see the return of Yogesh Patel who will be navigated by Keith Henrie in a Subaru Impreza N10.
The rally will be flagged off outside the KCB Kilifi branch on Saturday afternoon.