Tundo and Jackson top EA Classic in Mombasa: Drivers power their way to finish ramp after gruelling nine-day showdown

By Ernest Ndunda: Saturday, December 2nd 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Sporting
EAST AFRICA CLASSIC RALLY Wish Lakhani's Datsun 1800sss in full flight around the Viking area during the East Africa Classic Safari Rally on December 1, 2017.

It’s the first time since 2013 when EA Classic Rally to produce joint winners.

Kenya’s Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo and Richard Jackson were last evening declared the joint winners of the 2017 Kenya Airways East Africa Classic Safari Rally in Mombasa.

This is the first time the rally has produced joint winners since its inception in 2013. After a long stewards’ meeting, it was unanimously decided that the pair be declared winners.

Jackson, navigated by Ryan Champion in a Tuthill Porsche 911, proved beyond reasonable doubt that they are experts behind the wheel after nine days of grueling action as hard-charging Tundo also proved he was tough too.  Jackson and Tundo kept clear of trouble on the final day of the marathon rally to rack up their first-ever Safari win.

Although it was Porsche’s third win on the world’s toughest historic rally, it was also the first victory for a Briton (and indeed a man from Yorkshire) in what has previously been a preserve of hosts Kenyans and Swedes. “It was a deserved victory after facing strong opposition but we are happy to have driven our machine safely back home,” said Jackson after driving his car to the podium at Sarova Whitesands Beach Hotel.

“This was one of the toughest rallies as it had both veterans and upcoming drivers who wanted to prove to the old guards that they were ready for the challenge. In general, it was a competitive rally,” said Jackson.

Tundo said he gave his all. “It was a very competitive rally and our happiness was to drive the machine back to the podium. I congratulate all those who participated in the rally as they kept us moving. Our focus is the KNRC rally. 

With a massive margin to his rivals, the Yorkshire-based Jackson and co-driver Champion were able to cruise through the day’s final three stages on their way to a victory.

Baldev Chager, another multiple former Kenyan champion, motored to seal the podium dash, as Geoff Bell and Jonathan Somen savoured fourth and fifth positions respectively. Chager said: “It was a technical and challenging rally. We had to work as a team with my crew and I thank them for their tireless efforts to ensure the car was in a perfect condition.

“It was a cat and mouse rally. We led from Stage One and positions kept on changing to the last day. Losing and winning is part of the sport,” said Chager.

Chager also said the mood of the rally changed after the death of the rally director Jo Vohra who died in a road accident. “He was very instrumental to the rally and his demise affected the entire mood of the rally.”