NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 6 – Kenya Champion Carl “Flash” Tundo and his partner Tim Jessop in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10 will be the first ones off the ramp in Saturday’s KCB Meru Rally.
The duo currently ranked second on the Kenya National Rally Championship will be fighting to dislodge highflying Baldev Chager from the summit of the log.
Tundo will be hoping to repeat his stellar performance in Nanyuki where he swept the ground with all his opponents at the expansive Loldaiga Ranch.
Behind Tundo will be ARC Safari winners Chager and his partner Ravi Soni who will be hoping to give their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10 its third win of the season.
Besides the Championship tussle, fans in Meru will also savor a breathtaking battle putting the R4 EVOs against R5 Skoda and VW Polo of Manvir Baryan and Onkar Rai seeded third and fourth respectively on the provisional start list.
Onkar reunites with Gavin Laurence in his VW Polo which is yet to finish a rally on Kenyan soil since its debut on Mombasa Rally.
Although drivers will be tussling for a share of KNRC points, fans will savor a fight pitting the R4 and R5 cars. The R5s have proven quite formidable on African terrain with Manvir sealing a third straight continental (ARC) title.The R4 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10 drivers have been compelled to play catch up what with the blistering pace of R5 machines.
Tundo said: “I hope so. It sounds wet which will be fun. Car has been ready since GN was cancelled. Not managed to test it but it should be good to go. Looking forward to rallying in Meru again but hope a lot has been done to closing the roads as I am off first.”
Eric Bengi who is returning home this weekend, is seeded fifth ahead of Jasmeet Chana and Division 1 leader Karan Patel.
Bengi who joined the KNRC Premier Class this season is currently the fastest black indigenous driver. He will be without his regular lady navigator Tuta Mionki who has been unwell.
As a result, Peter Mutuma, another petrol-head from Menengai Cream stable, has been called upon to fill the void left behind by Tuta.
It’s a bitter pill for Tuta to swallow as the weekend’s event was going to be her 50th KNRC appearance on home turf.
Tuta said: It’s sad that I will not be racing on my home rally after all. I have been there once when Meru was part of the 2015 Safari Rally. We did quite well, and I am hoping for a great performance. The fans are amazing and I remember them getting excited to see one of their daughters in a rally car.”
The KNRC has been to Nakuru, Naivasha, Kajiado, Mombasa, Nanyuki and now Meru following postponement of round 6 which was planned for Stony Athi.
1 Tundo /Tim Jessop (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
2 Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
3 Manvir Baryan /Drew Sturrock (Skoda Fabia)
4 Onkar Rai/Gavin Lawrence (Volkswagen Polo)
5 Eric Bengi/Peter Mutuma (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
6 Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
7 Karan Patel/James Mwangi (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
8 Ammar Haq/Victor Okundi
(Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
9 Issa Amwari /Job Njiru (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
10 Paras Pandya/Falgun Bhojak (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
11 Minesh Rathod /Shameer Yusuf (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
12 Nikhil Sachania/Deep Patel (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
13 Steve Mwangi/Dennis Mwenda (Subaru Impreza)
14 Aakif Virani /Azhar Bhatti (Subaru Impreza)
15 John Ng’ang’a /TBA (Subaru Impreza)
16 Edward Maina /Edward Njoroge (Subaru Impreza)
17 McRae Kimathi/Evans Mwenda (Subaru Impreza)
18 Evans Kavisi/Absolom Aswani (Subaru Impreza)
19 Daren Miranda/Wayne Fernandes
KNRC STANDINGS AFTER KCB NANYUKI RALLY
1.Baldev Singh Chager (Kabras Sugar Racing) 123
- Carl Tundo (Top Fry) 96
- Manvir Baryan (Multiple Rally Team) 91
- Tejveer Singh Rai (Kabras Sugar Racing) 63
5.Ian Duncan (Ian Duncan Rallying) 38
- Izhar Mirza (Coast Pekee Racing) 33
- Ammar Haq (Yalfa Rally Team) 27
- Onkar Singh Rai (Kabras Sugar Racing) 25
- Sohanjeet Singh Puee (Team Nanak) 25
- Karan Patel 25