Nairobi, Kenya, Apr 24 – After a grueling Day One of the ARC Equator Rally held in Naivasha on Saturday, Kenya’s Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo of the Minti Motorsort produced a brilliant display to take the overnight lead.
Tundo was at the top of his game as he dominated all the six stages to finish the opening day with a total of 1:39:14.4 hours to enjoy a comfortable 7:15.1minutes lead over compatriot Tejveer Rai going into the last day stages at the challenging Malewa, Kedong and Loldia.
President Uhuru Kenyatta graced Day One where he enjoyed the spectators stage at Soysambu Ranch.
“We took it fairly easy in the second loop when we saw Baldev Chager and Onkar Rai out. The last 5 kilometers of Sleeping Warrior was a Rhino Charge rather than rallying. But at the end of the day, we came through clean. We have done day 1 and we await a fresh challenge on day two tomorrow,” Tundo, the five-time Safari Rally winner said.
Tundo was happy with the handling of his new VW Polo R5, saying he is looking forward to running it on WRC Safari Rally in June
“The new car (VW Polo) is all good. I’m driving it to my best of ability but the car definitely has more and it’s certainly better than the Evo10 as it’s a purpose-built rally car and state of the art for rallying. The Mitsubishi is a road car,” he added.
Meanwhile, heavy rains around the lakeside region threw another spanner in the works of an already-technical route course with the wet and slippery conditions sloshing the usually dusty conservancy roads for what turned out to be a grueling start to the opening day.
The opening day consisted of two passes through the Lake Elmenteita whose shores are grazed by zebras, gazelles, elands and families of warthog and diverse species of birds.
Meanwhile, in the afternoon loop, the Kenyan trio of Onkar Rai, Baldev Chager and Isaa Amwari as well as the Ugandan pair of Duncan Mubiru and Rajiv Ruperelia are out as well for the day and it is yet to be known if they will be on the start list tomorrow.
Chager and Rai hit a rock that damaged Chager’s steering rack while Rai saw his suspension dented in SS5.
Other drivers who had a tough day and could not finish are the Ugandan trio of Duncan Mubiru, Ronald Sebuguzi and Rajiv Ruparelia while local drivers also consisted of Karan Patel, Amanraaj Rai, Jas Mangat, Pierro Cannobio, Nzioka Waita and John Ng’ang’a.
LEG 1 RESULTS-SATURDAY
1. Carl Tundo – Tim Jessop (KEN-Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) 1:39:14.4hours
2. Tejveer Rai- Gareth Dawe (KEN-Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) 1:46:29.5
3. Guy Botterill – Simon Vacy-Lyle (RSA-Toyota Etios R5) 1:59:28.4
4.Giancarlo Davite – Sylvia Vindevogel (RWA-Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) 2:03:12.9
5. Hamza Anwar – Riyaz Ismail (KEN-Subaru Impreza WRX STi) 2:03:27.9
6. Kepher Walubi – Mohammed Asuman (UG-Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) 2:06:19.6
7. Jasmeet Chana – Ravinder Chana (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) 2:06:31.3
8. Steven Mwangi- Dennis Mwenda (Subaru Impreza) 2:07:58.5
9. Evans Kavisi – Absalom Aswani (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) 2:08:19.6
10. Aakif Virani – Azhar Bhatti (Škoda Fabia R5) 2:09:30.2
11. Kailesh Chauhan – Tariq Maliq (Ford Escort RS) 2:13:10.
12. McRae Kimathi – Shameer Yusuf (Subaru Impreza)2:13:16.2 13.
13. Eric Bengi – Peter Mutuma (KEN Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) 2:19:21.4
14. Edward Maina – John Ngugi (KEN-Subaru Impreza) 2:24:25.2
15. Nikhil Sachania – Deep Patel (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) 2:24:27.5
16. Daren Miranda – Wayne Fernandes (KEN-Subaru Impreza) 2:27:27.6
17. Yasin Nasser – Ali Katumba (KEN-Subaru Impreza WRX) 2:33:43.2
18. Geoff Mayes – Suzanne Zwager (KEN-Land Rover Tomcat SPV) 2:35:06.1