Carl “Flash” Tundo is set to claim his much awaited victory in the 2017 East African Safari Classic Rally barring any major disaster on the final day on Friday.
The Top Fry-sponsored Triumph TR7 of Tundo was one of only four cars to pass through a muddy patch as they rest lost valuable time trying to dance through the quagmire in Thursday’s action.
The Nakuru-based driver has taken one of the biggest leads of over 53 minutes since the rally started nine days ago.
Overnight leader on Wednesday Richard Jackson of Britain, was relegated to second place with just three stages totalling 344km remaining after his Porsche got stranded in a muddy patch.
Similar fate also fell on ace driver Baldev Chager, who is seeking his first Safari Classic crown, to add to his titles of Best Driver in the Kenya National Rally Championship and the Safari Rally.
The Kabras Team-sponsored Porsche is now 74 minutes behind Tundo. Chager is a 12 minutes ahead of the fourth placed Geoff Bell driving a Datsun 260Z.
The last day of the competition will tackle three final stages - Whitesands (157kms), Giriama (114kms) and Mitongoni (73.21). The marathon race will end at the Whitesands Hotel where it all started.
Drama unfolded in the in the penultimate day of the 10-day Classic Rally Thursday, when leading drivers were hit by catastrophes while at the top of the table and imagining victory within sight.
Worse affected were the previously consistent Raaji Bharij, whose locally prepared Porsche stopped abruptly in the stage with engine problem.
The Intra Africa Insurance Company-sponsored driver said he didn’t have enough money for a spare engine like other crews. The crew is the reigning Nakuru Classic Rally champions.
‘’We have learnt a lot in this event despite failing to finish. It has been a good experience for us to prepare for the Nakuru Classic Rally in April,’’ said Bharij.
Ramesh Vishram crashed his Ford Escort against a bridge in yesterday’s opening stage.
“I hit the wall of the bridge at high speeds. The front suspension is damaged badly. I am waiting for my Service Van to start repairs. I will be forced to miss rest of today’s stages but hope to rejoin tomorrow for the final day God willing,” said Vishram.
According to Mark Senteu, Marketing and Customer Care Manager, Shell Vivo Energy Kenya, Motorsport, as all other sports in Kenya, remains as an exhibition of what raw talent exists in our nation.
Shell Vivo Energy Kenya, is part of the sponsors of the Classic Rally.