NAIROBI, Kenya, January 14 – Former Kenya National Rally Champions Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo and Alastair Cavenagh have acquired Group N Mitsubishi Evolution 9 rally cars for this year’s KCB Kenya National Rally Championship series.
Tundo’s newly acquired EVO 9 was previously owned by South African Verlaque sisters –Lola and Meagan- who have graced previous KCB Safari Rally on their FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) course.
Speaking from his Lanet base, Tundo said he is at pains to recapture the diadem that slipped through his grasps last season with a multiple mechanical gremlins.
“I have moved to a Mitsubishi EVO 9 which is Lola Verlaque’s old car. I hope Alastair does well. But one of us will surely win the championship. The spirit is the same as every year – Al and I will try and get the championship back,” offered Tundo.
Alastair’s car is coming in from New Zealand and is scheduled to arrive into the country later this week and will hopefully be cleared in time for the first event in Eldoret at the beginning of February.
Cavenagh has only participated in selected events over the past 3 years.
“It will be interesting to see how long it takes to get onto the pace in the new car,” said Cavenagh who is looking to repeat of 10 years ago when he sealed the Kenyan National Rally crown in 1999 with verve and vigor.
“I think this year will be the most competitive season since I have been rallying in Kenya,” continued Cavenagh, adding, “with so many fast drivers now in very similar, if not identical machinery, it should definitely be a very exciting championship."
Tundo’s car has already arrived in the country and is being tested extensively prior to the first event-the KCB Simba Savings Rally.
Anwar siblings, Azar and Asad are also shopping around for Evolution 9 cars.
Asad’s car is set to arrive just after the first rally in February. “I will use the old Subaru N11 for the first rally but soon after the culmination of the event, we will embark on a full-blown performance test campaign,” Asad, who is shipping in the car from New Zealand, said.
Meanwhile, the Rallies Commission of Kenya Motor Sports Foundation (KMSF) has made a number of changes in the 2009 KCB Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) series in a bid to enhance competitiveness and zeal amongst drivers and navigators.
Top on the initiative is the introduction of KCB Under-27 Youngster Championship and three new divisions for which trophies will be awarded to champions during the subsequent KMSF Awards gala night.
The three divisions have been designed in line with competitor-performance. The first division will involve the top 10 fastest drivers. The second division accommodates the next 10 fastest drivers with the rest of the pack being categorized in the third division.
“Competitors will be awarded points by every KCB KNRC event with trophy for each division at the end of it all,” Ashok Bhalla, the Rallies Commission Chairman said.
Mr Bhalla said the last two drivers in the main division will be relegated to the immediate lower group while the first two in the second division will be promoted to the first group of drivers. Mr Bhalla said the Rallies Commission made the changes in consultation with Kenya Rally Drivers Association (KRDA).