Tundo optimistic for another podium finish after landing Betika windfall

Carl Tundo from Kenya navigated by Tim Jessop driving Skoda Fabia crosses a river at Soysambu Ranch during WRC Safari Rally Kenya 2023 event.[Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Multiple Kenya National Rally Championship winner Carl Tundo is hopeful for another podium finish in the third leg of the World Rally Championship (WRC), the Safari Rally to be staged in Naivasha on March 28-31.

Tundo is optimistic to dominate the WRC2 category he finished third last season, if not lifting the main event.

Tundo is inspired for the feat after he received financial aid from gaming firm Betika yesterday.

Popularly known as Flash, Tundo is among the four drivers sponsored by Betika to a tune of Sh20 million.

This is an increase from the Sh14 million sunk by the gaming firm in the Safari Rally last season.

Tundo was the best placed Kenyan driver in the Safari Rally last year after bagging third place in the WRC2.

In 2021, he was placed third in the WRC3 category.

Other drivers who are part of this year's sponsorship are Andrew Muiruri, Ishmael Azeli, and Jennifer Malik.

"We are confident to fly the Kenyan flag high and to etch our nation's name in the annals of international rally history. We have had months of training and will strive to finish the race," said Tundo.

He added: " This sponsorship is a resounding vote of confidence in our abilities and a testament to the relentless dedication we've poured into our craft.  Rallying is not cheap, and I know so many good drivers who are locked out of the competition because they cannot afford it. When companies like Betika come to support us, we get motivated to do better, to keep the fight and the love of the sport."

From right: Safari Rally drivers Carl Tundo, Jennifer Malik, Betika Managing Director Mutua Mutava, driver Ishmael Azeli and navigator Edward Njoroge during the unveiling of Betika sponsorship in Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

While commenting on the support, which has been made possible through the firm's local talent funding arm, Betika Na Community initiative, budding driver Malik stated: "Participating in this year’s Safari Rally is a dream come true for me. This is my second time competing at the WRC and I hope to inspire other young girls in Kenya to pursue their passion for motorsport. As an all-female rally team, we have encountered a lot of challenges during the preparations for this event, but this support has lessened the burden. This allows us to compete at our highest levels and we are confident that we are ready to compete with the rest of the world."

Speaking about the sponsorship, Betika's Managing Director Mutua Mutava stated: "Taking place amidst the rugged expanses of Africa's awe-inspiring landscapes, where the weather can swiftly shift in mere moments, Safari Rally Kenya stands as an unparalleled trial of resilience.

"With its terrain unforgiving and diverse, from treacherous mud to unyielding rocks, from fesh-fesh sand to demanding water crossings, this event epitomizes the ultimate test of endurance. We are proud to stand behind Carl Tundo, Andrew Muiruri, Ishamael Azeli, and Jennifer Malik as they navigate these formidable obstacles with unwavering determination and skill. We are well aware of the vast abilities of our youth and would like to hold their hands whenever we can.”

Mutua also noted that the Government, through the Ministry of Sports, has been at the forefront in supporting Betika’s Initiatives to help nurture the talents of our youth and help them compete on local and international platforms.

The 2024 WRC Safari Rally Kenya marks a significant return to its tradition, reverting to its original timeline over the Easter weekend.

The event has attracted over 50 foreign and local competitors, promising a thrilling showcase of skill and determination.

With just days remaining until the start of the competition, anticipation is building within the motorsport community and among fans worldwide.

Among the top contenders vying for glory in this year’s event are powerhouses Hyundai Shell Mobis, Toyota Gazoo Racing and Ford M-Sport, each fielding three crews for the iconic event.

 

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