NAIROBI, Kenya 10TH June – Loud ululations from anxious spectators at the gallery rent the air as Dalbit Petroleum team of Carl ‘Flash’Tundo and his partner Tim Jessop won their fourth career KCB Safari accolade- albeit narrowly- as the Kenyan round of FIA African Rally Championship folded it’s curtains at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).
Tundo was on cloud nine saying: “I am ecstatic to have won three other Safaris and now to defend my last year win. This is fantastic but the old boy Ian was really pushing me today. It’s a small amount (talking about his lead in the championship). It’s still close but I am good. It’s been long and tiring- I mean the 87km stage was fairly demanding. Good but demanding. The concentration levels have been huge.
We had a few sort of teething issues like centre diff not working but other than that she runs smoothly.”
Ian on the other part said: “I am very happy to be here. The three days were certainly very hard. Good old days. The only thing now is that we are doing longer stages at special stage speeds. It was a good rally. The car held up well, just.”
Quentin was all smiles and was contented with third overall place: “I am extremely happy. It’s been a long, long rally and really nice to get back here. It’s also really nice for our sponsors (Oilibya) so hopefully we have proved to them they have backed the right horse. The car definitely needs some work because it took some beating like we did the last stage on three drive shafts.
I think now that we have the backing we can do testing with the car, more spares during service. Everything now means we can go up a gear and attack harder the rest of the season.”
With an apparently insatiable hunger for success, Duncan set quickest times on all the two stages at stake on Day Two but Tundo vanquished all his fears when he checked into last service at Il-Bissel Primary on realization that he had won the cliff-hanger tussle. Such was the resilience and tension-filled affair that punctuated the Diamond Jubilee edition of the “World Toughest Rally”.
With mechanical gremlins taking toll on Day One’s overnight leader Alastair Cavenagh on Saturday, the mad rush for Safari accolades was palpable as it pitted Tundo against 1994 WRC Safari Rally winner Duncan.
Cavenagh was leading by 54 seconds after stage 3 having set fastest stage times on every stage of the event then on stage 4 a rim split that forced him and his co-driver Gavin Laurence to change the puncture.
“I knew we had lost the rally and thereafter I failed to pay due attention; hit a big ditch too fast and put fan through radiator. Obviously, I am destined never to win the Safari,” said Cavenagh.
Tigoni-based Oilibya Racing –sponsored youngster Quentin Mitchell sealed the podium dash incidentally 14.39minutes from the winner.
Nevertheless, Mitchell’s input choreographed what was clearly a tremendous improvement from seventh overall placing in last year’s Safari.
Simon Sharpe in his crowd-pleasing Platz won the supplementary class with Nairob- based Adnan Suhail and his partner Absalom Aswani winning the 2WD class.
Zambian Mohammed Essa and his Zimbabwean navigator Greg Stead savored a career best fourth place Safari finish which wasn’t that bad for his ARC series aspirations.
The feat came with a bonus in that it was also a great improvement from his Safari debut in 2008 when he wrapped up his campaign in eighth.
Tundo and Jessop have four Safari scalps under their belts the maiden of which was in South Coast in 2004 followed by the 2009 success.
Last year, Tundo earned a deserved hat-trick of Safari wins and returned to KICC ceremonial finish ramp rubbing his hands with glee following stellar displays in Kajiado and Il-Bissel regions this weekend.
The breakthrough for the umpteenth time easily makes the Rift Valley wheat farmer (Tundo) the most successful Safari driver ever since the Kenyan premier event was relegated from WRC status to the current FIA African Rally Championship in 2002.
But the first ARC Safari 2003 Safari which replaced Equator Rally from the continental series was won by Glen Edmunds and Titch Phips Carter in a Mitsubishi Lancer.
Since 2003, Mitsubishi Lancer has enjoyed an almost unblemished run earning a record eight victories against two by Subaru achieved by Tundo (2004) and Zimbabwean Conrad Rautenbach in 2007.
PROVISIONAL FINAL RESULTS
1. Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (EVO9) 2:50:05
2. Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (EVO9) 2:50:20
3. Quentin Mitchell/Chris Davis (Subaru N16) 3:04:44
4. Mohammed Essa-ZAM/Greg Stead-ZIM (Subaru N12) 3:13:04
5. Peter Horsey/Bella Erskine (EVOX) 3.18.11
6. Jassi Chathe/Gugu Panesar (EVO9) 3.23.53
7. Izhar Mirza/Zahir Shah (EVO9) 3.24.05
8. Azar Anwar/Julius Ngige (EVO8) 3.31.00
9. Don Smith/Bob Kaugi (Subaru) 3.33.31
10. Mavir S Baryan/Dennis GRaudet (Subaru N16) 3.33.43
11. Ghalib Hajee/Bharat Pattni (Mitsubishi EVOX) 3.35.34
12. Anwar Pandya/Ken Masoni (Subaru N10) 3.47.05
13. Farhaaz Khan/Keith Henrie (Subaru) 3.57.2314
14. Arkif Virani/Arhaz Bhatti (Subaru) 3.58.07
15. Harpreet Sagoo/H. Dhanjal (Subaru N10) 4.07.41
16. Sudesh Hirani/Adnan Din (Subaru) 4.10.12
1. Simon Sharpe/Crispin Kennedy (Platz) 3:22:23
2. Jaswinder Chana (Toyota Celica GT4) 3.37.40
3. Michelle Van Tongeren/Safina Khan (Sunaru) 3:44:23
4.Jonathan Somen/Richard Hechie (Ford Escort) 3:47:02
5.Husein Malik/S. Njenga (Subaru)3:49:14
6.Mahesh Halai/Ketan Halai (Subaru)3:49:32
7. Rob Hellier/Sam Jethwa (Datusn 160J) 3.52.46
8. Aslam Khan/Imran Khan (Porsche 911) 3.54.18
9.Noor Mohammed/Hassan Saleh (Subaru) 3.58.26
10. Joel Muchiri/Riyaz Ismail (Subaru gc8) 4.00.10
11. Nish Lakhani/Kavit Dave (Land Rover hybrid) 4.08.30
12. Jasmeet Chana/Rohit Bhudia (Toyota Celica GT4) 4.09.24
13. Stanley Thuo/Eric Nzuva (Subaru ) 4.10.49
14. Rajesh Maini/Teeku Patel (Range Rover) 4.16.36
15. Edward Maina/Tonny Kimondo (Toyota Celica GT4) 4.19.07
16. Samira Khan/Chantal Young (Ford Escort MK1) 4.38.12
17. Rashid Kabi/Nehreen ismail (Subaru) 5.34.16
1. Adnan Suhail/Absalom Aswani (Daihastu) 3.52.37
2. James Kirimi/Kimeli Korir (VW Golf GTi) 3.55.10
3. Jagjit Liddar/Pinal Patel (VW Golf GTi) 3.56.56
4. Rajbir Rai/Supee Soin (VW Golf GTi) 3.58.56
5. Gurmitr Thethy/Depinder Kalsi (VW Golf GTi) 4.05.18
6. Le Varese/Kigo Kareithi (VW Golf GTi) 4.09.58
7. Nadeem Kana/James Mwangi (Subaru) 4.11.00
8. Patrick Kibaara/Julius Mwachuya (Levin) 4.14.19
9. Jitu Davda/Jetein Prakash Babu (Toyota Marino) 4.36.16
10. Sammy Nyorri/Stephene Nyorri (Toyota Vitz) 4.49.44
11. Dalbir Thethy/J. Ngugi (Toyota Conquest)4.50.45
12. Victor okundi/Tuta Miyonki (Toyota Vitz) 5.34.00