ELDORET, Kenya, Feb 7 – A febrile Carl “Flash” Tundo launched his 2010 Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) title defense in awesome fashion around Kerio Valley incidentally defending the KCB Biashara Banking Rally in the championship winning Mitsubishi Evolution 9.The Lanet-based farmer had his campaign effectively sewn up when speedster Lee Rose was wrong slotted first time round on the 21.6km CS1 Sergoit-Iten stage before retiring in first service in Iten with mechanical gremlins. Rose resorted for Atul Kochhal when his regular navigator Piers Daykin was held up in Timau.
The victory in the Western Kenya Motor Club organised season-opener was a flawless way for Tundo to start his KNRC defense apparently with the 33mm restrictor increase FIA has allowed effective 2010.
Spectators and rally officials were able to keep abreast with conditions on the ground thanks to internet service provider partner i-Way Africa and Car Track who are tracking the event real time online.
Five time Kenya Champion Ian Duncan romped home second interestingly on his first event after the dropping of the two percent penalty.
Third was 1999 Kenya Champion Alastair Cavenagh who had to contend with two punctures on the first loop. Baldev Chager came home 4th with Asad Khan taking fifth overall.
This was Tundo’s seventh win in the Mitsubishi Evolution 9 he acquired from the South African Rally Chicks Lola and Meagan Varlaque last season and crowned it with victory in the Eldoret round last season. Tundo was all smiles as cars pulled in to the Iten service park: “It was a hair-raising event through quite a bit of traffic on the way. It was actually difficult to gauge the speed if there is more power (in the increased restrictor size) as it pulls a lot more on the top end,” Tundo commented.
Outgoing Division Three Champion Said Hamad and Jaswinder Chana of Yana Tyres team came home 9th and 10th overall. Munir Khan co-driven by physically challenged Sam Jethwa earned his second career win in the Two Wheel Drive class after his fairy tale drive in Mombasa last year.
Chager expressed worries that he must revert to his winning formula he exhibited on winning the championship in 2008. “We were quite rusty on the first loop but when we started pushing in the second loop, we damaged the shocks,” said Chager.
Chager was happy though that the increase of the restrictor from 32mm to 33mm improved the pace. “You could actually tell that you are gaining speed especially in the straight,” said Chager.
Provisional final results
1. Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (EVO9) 1.34.12
2. Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (Nissan Patrol) 1.36.05
3. Alastair Cavenagh/Gavin Laurence (EVO9) 1.36.33
4. Baldev Chager/Raju Sehmi (Subaru N12) 1.36.53
5. Asad Anwar/Kashif Shaikh (Subaru N11) 1.39.48
6. Azar Anwar/Julius Ngigi (EVO8) 1.40.05
7. Jas Mangat/Cedric Buzabo (Subaru) 1.41.56
8. Asad Khan/Salim Khan (Subaru N10) 1.43.19
9. GHalib Hajee/Acharia K. 1.48.58
10. Said Hamad/Victor Okundi (Subaru N10) 1.50.05
11. Jaswinder Chana/Ravi Chana (Toyota Celica) 1.50.30
12. Khurram Bhut/Rafael Kivaa (Subaru) 1.56.21
13. Alex Horsey/Frank Gitau (EVO9) 1.56.39
Munir Khan/Sam Jethwa (Toyota Levin) 1.44.50
Charles Hinga/Evans Mwenda (Toyota Levin) 1.06.1
Leo Varese/Kagondu Kareithi (VW Golf) 1.44.50