The dramatic fight for the lead continued unabated on the penultimate day of the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally as local hero Carl “Flash” Tundo motored to eclipse Briton Richard Jackson and compatriot Baldev Chager and move back in front.
Tundo had his campaign effectively gifted by Jackson’s and Chager’s woes but hoped the rally gods would be kinder on the final stretch today. Former leading co-driver, Richard Jackson, was left to rue what turned out to be a bad day at the office and admitted they had lost a realistic chance of catching Tundo.
“Stage one we wrong-slotted which was my fault, we then got a puncture but got through the stage. Stage two was a complete fiasco where we got stuck in a mud hole,” said the navigator.
Jackson’s team mate, Ryan Champion, and Baldev Chager have driven like demons on the 2017 Classic but watched in disbelief just how their Safari Classic fortunes appeared to worsen with only a few stages of the route course to spare. Tundo was the first driver out of the CS20 where Jackson and Geoff Bell got stuck in mud holes.
Day nine is the last day of the Safari Classic. The rally restarts from Sarova Whitesands today with three tough final stages in Sokoke, Maji Ya Chumvi and Mitangoni, after which the cars head back to Sarova Whitesands for the finish in the afternoon.
Ramesh Vishram, the affable star of the Kenyan classic scene, hit the corner of a bridge on the day’s opening stage. His Ford Escort took quite a beating in the process but the crew indicated that they would restore the car and soldier on to the very end.
Raaji Bharij also suffered engine problems and was reportedly out of the day’s run, but will be classified as a finisher after having tackled five days of the competition.