Carl Tundo to lead Kenyan drivers in EASCR

Carl Tundo, navigated by Timothy Jessop, cruises through Hells Gates in a Volkswagen Polo Evo during the WRC Safari Rally in Naivasha. June 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Stafford]

The reigning African Rally Champion Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo will lead a retinue of local crews in the 10th East African Classic Safari Rally, covering a 5,000-kilometre stretch from Naivasha to Watamu in nine days.

He will be captaining other drivers including Baldev Chager, with his co-driver, Ravi Soni, in a Porsche 911, Ian Duncan, with his navigator Anthony Neilson, in a Rover Vitesse, Lee Rose, with her co-driver Douglas McNeil, in a Ford Escort RS 1,800.

Tundo, having teamed up with his navigator Tim Jessop in their Triumph TR7, is highly decorated having won the International Rally Challenge way back in 2009. He won the Guru Nanak Rally in 2011, 2012 and shared the crown with Ryan Champion in 2017.

The five times winner of the Safari Rally (2004, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2018) will be out to reclaim the EASCR double title he won in 2015 and 2017 which he lost to Rosenberger in 2019 when he pulled out of the race.

The 48-year-old will be racing against his father Frank Tundo who imbibed him with rallying skills way back in 1995.

With 19-year experience, Tundo prides himself on having knowledge of the Kenyan terrain better than his competitors.

“Anyone doing these roads for the first time is in for a real treat. Don’t attack this rally. It will bite you,” added Clerk of Course Raju Charger,” said Tundo.

Frank Tundo, father to Carl Tundo has a clean bill of health for reaching the finish tape in all classic events he has taken part in the country.

Last year, he took part in the Irish Rally in the UK, finishing 68th.

Chager, a four-time Kenya National Rally Champion (2008, 2013, 2014 2019), will compete in a Porsche 911 under team Kabras Racing.

Having won the World Rally Championship in 2019, Ramisi went down as Chager's second win of the season after Nakuru last year. He is a three-time Safari Rally Winner.

Ian Duncan, a two-time winner of the Classic Rally, has multiple decorations on his name in the East African Classic Safari Rally.

The six-time rally champion (1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 2000 and 2011) won the national 125cc title in 1979 and 1980.

He competed in the Safari Rally for the first time in 1983 driving a Nissan pick-up navigated by Gavin Bennett, reaching ninth position and a class victory, gaining the attention of rally people around when he won the Trust Bank Safari Rally in 1994.

Former motocross champion, Anthony Nielsen makes his return to active competition within a Rover Vitesse.

Sports CS Amina Mohamed flags off the 10th Edition of the East African Classic Rally in Naivasha. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

He is the former twice winner of the Kenya Motor Sports Federation personality of the Year in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

He entered in the East Africa Classic Safari Rally twice and also the Kenya National Rally Championship recording position four as his best.

 Lee Rose, the 41-year-old Kenyan Rally driver entered motorsport at 23, in 199 finishing position 20 during WRC Safari Rally.

Having rallied in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa.

The home team will have to prove their ability on local soil and overcome a star-studded top-seeded batch composed of defending champion Australian Kris Rosenberger, with a German co-driver Nicole Bleicher racing in a Porsche 911.

Another driver who will give Kenyans a run for their money is Quentin Mitchel with a track record of seven finishes in the Kenya National Rally Championship and will use East African Classic Safari Rally to venture into the hard territory.

Ken Block with American origin is the new entry in the EASCR and he termed it a new experience from the long-distance compared to the six American Championship. He has accumulated five X Games medals since he started racing in 2005. He finished second at Global X Games Barcelona RallyCross in 2013. He is renowned for his mastering of car drifting.

The rally kicked off at the WRC Safari Rally Service Park at the Wildlife Research Training Institute, Naivasha Thursday.

Rally drivers list:

1. Kris Rosenberger/Nicola Bleicher (Porsche 911)

2. Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Triumph TR7)

3. Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (Porsche 911)

4. Patrik Sandell/Henrik Bolinder (Porsche 911)

5. Ian Duncan/Anthony Neilsen (Rover Vitesse)

6. Lee Rose/Douglas McNeil (Ford Escort RS 1800)

7. Geoff Bell/Tim Challen (Datsun 240Z)

8. Raaji Bharij/Tauseef Khan (Ford Escort)

9. Ken Block/Alex Gelsomino (Porsche 911)

10. Phillip Kadoorie/Ryan Champion (Porsche 911)

11. Piers Daykin/Pierre Arries (Datsun 240Z)

12. Andrew Siddall /Gary McElhinney (Datsun 280Z)

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