NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 5 – Title holder Carl “Flash” Tundo took an early 03.6 second overnight lead on the World Rally Championship (WRC) Candidate Safari Rally over Zambian Leroy Gomes after the opening Super Special at Kasarani on Friday.
Driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10-R4 and navigated by Tim Jessop, the five-time Safari Rally winner clocked 03.56.0 minutes before an enthusiastic audience of about 5,000 spectators who witnessed firsthand the hair-raising thrills on a ‘fast and furious’ twin track.
Tundo, who is chasing a record six wins on the Safari Rally, treated spectators to some exhilarating displays on the day’s 4.8km stage.
Reigning African Rally Champion Manvir Baryan and his British partner Drew Sturrock had to contend with playing second fiddle to Tundo, but as experts say, it’s still early days.
Baryan who is also the Africa Rally Championship (ARC) leader settled for fifth incidentally 04.3 seconds behind Tundo.
Tundo’s team-mate Onkar Rai was third fastest, losing out to Gomes by just 1 millisecond, meaning only 4.3 seconds separates the leading four crews heading into Saturday.
The 2013 ARC champion Jassy Singh made a positive start to his third Safari with fourth place on day one. The son of legendary Muna Singh has yet to finish the grueling Safari in two attempts.
The Zambian speed merchant completed the super special in a time of 04.00.1 minutes, 3 milliseconds faster than Manvir to sit fifth overall.
This year’s Safari has attracted fans from as far afield as Ndola, Lusaka, Dar es Salaam and Kampala.
Organizers ran a twin track ostensibly to offer spectators scintillating neck and neck action. A total of 48 drivers started the event which is also counts towards the FIA ARC.
President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged off the first 10 cars and was among the thousands of spectators who graced the super special.
Day 1 (Leg1A) featured only one stage after the 13km Gatamaiyo Forest stage was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.
Following the cancellation of SS2 Gatamaiyo, rally traffic proceeded to overnight parc ferme at Naivasha’s Sopa Lodge.
But prior to parc ferme, there was regroup and service to help competitors repair the cars ahead of day two.
Cars restart Day Two (Leg 1B) at Sopa this morning (7am) and will repeat three stages around Elementaita (21.20km), Sleeping Warrior (27.08km) and Soysambu (22.00km) which will also be the designated spectator stage.
Safari Rally Leg 1A –Top 26 Results
1.Carl Tundo /Tim Jessop – (Ken- Evo X ) 03.56.0minutes
2.Leroy Gomes /Gomes Urshlla – (Zam- Ford Fiesta R5) 03.59.6
- Onkar Rai/ Dawe Gareth – (Ken -Scoda Fabia R5) 03.59.7
4.Jassy Singh/Sahid Khan –(Subaru Impreza) 04.00.1
5.Manvir Bayan /Drew Sturrock – (Ken-UK-Skoda Fabia R5) 04.00.3
6.Tejveer Rai/Gavin Laurence– (Ken- Evo X) 04.01.9
7.Ian Duncan /Anthony Nielsen –(Ken -Evo X) 04.03.0
8.Giancarlo Davite/ Sylvia Vindevogel- (Bur Bel/Bur Evo X R4) 04.09.0
9.Ronald Ssebaguzi/Leon Ssenyange (-Ug- Evo X) 04.09.4
10.Baldev Chager / Ravi Soni – (Ken – Evo X-R4) 04.09.8
11.Eric Bengi- Ken- Tuta Mionki – (Ken – Evo X) 04.12.1
- Izhar Mirza/Kavit Dave – ( Ken Mitsubishi Evo 10) 04.12.9
13.Jasmeet Chana – Ken Ravi Chana – (Ken Evo X) 04.13.3
14.Yassin Nasser Ali Katumba – (UG Subaru Impreza) 04.13.5
- Ammar Haq- Ken Victor Okundi- (Ken -Evo X) 04.15.7
16.Duncan Mubiru/Musa Nsubuga – (UG Evo X) 04.17.8
17.Paras Pandya/Falgun Bhojak – (Ken Evo X) 04.20.8
- Karan Patel /James Mwangi – (Ken- Evo X) 04.21.4
19.Mahesh Halai/ Ketan Halai – (Ken- Subaru Impreza) 04.26.3
- Kepher Walubi/ Anthony Mugambwa (UG- Evo X) 04.27.6
21.Christakis Fitidis/Veer Dadar – (UG/TZ- Evo X) 04.31.7
22.Hussein Malik/Linet Ayuko –(Ken EvoX) 04.39.6
23.Issa Amwari/ Job Njiru –(Ken -Evo X-R4) 04.44.9
24.Minesh Rathod/Shameer Yusuf- (Ken -Evo X) 04.50.2
25.Aakif Virani /Azhar Bhatti –(Ken- Subaru Impreza) 04.52.3
- Moez Malik – Ken- Steven Njenga – Ken- Subaru Impreza) 05.19.6