•On his very first outing in the Minti Motorsport VW Polo R5, Tundo dominated the proceedings to claim the event's first three stages at the expansive Soysambu Conservancy.
•An excited Tundo said: “It’s pretty rough and wet. I enjoy wet rallies. I am enjoying the new car and getting the hang of it. I would say early days but we are going okay.
Multiple Safari winner Carl “Flash” Tundo prevailed in the battle of R5 contraptions after the first loop Leg 1.
On his very first outing in the Minti Motorsport VW Polo R5, Tundo dominated the proceedings to claim the event's first three stages at the expansive Soysambu Conservancy.
Tundo savoured a 1.05.2minutes lead over Onkar Rai in the early morning 14.67km Elementaita 1 run which he cleared in 11.04.1 minutes.
Tundo was at it again on the preceding 20.233km Soysambu stage, where he beat Onkar and South African Guy Botterill by 35.7 and 56.3 seconds respectively.
He was equally lethal on the 30.98km Sleeping Warrior stage after Onkar suffered a second puncture. He beat VW Polo’s Tejveer Rai by a massive 1.59.9 margin.
An excited Tundo said: “It’s pretty rough and wet. I enjoy wet rallies. I am enjoying the new car and getting the hang of it. I would say early days but we are going okay.
Onkar said: “It’s a bit of an unfortunate situation. It’s part of rallying and it happens. We picked up two punctures, one in the first stage and the other in the second stage. We then broke e the control arm in the rough section.”
Meanwhile, Hussein Malik and Linet Ayuko became the first casualties of the event after slipping into a ditch on the first loop of leg 1.
Their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10 went off a wet and slippery stretch near a narrow river-crossing of CS2 Soysambu stage.
Subsequent to their excruciating experience, the Version 6 Racing driver (Malik) was left to rue their early exit from the FIA African Rally Championship event.
He said: “We came through the wash-away; so we were climbing up and it was like giving it the
power to get out of the ditch to come up. This is when the car started pulling towards the right and landed into the ditch. It was just too slippery. It was three kilometers to the flying finish. I am just feeling disappointed with my driving. Maybe I should have taken it a bit slower. There is not so much damage right now. We are just trying not to damage it further while rescuing it out. The car didn’t roll. It just fell on the side and the damage is superficial.”
This was Malik’s second retirement of the season after KCB Nakuru Rally which traversed the same WRC Safari stages in February. Both the driver and navigator emerged from the accident unscathed as the damage to the car was somewhat cosmetic.
It was a bitter pill for Malik to swallow as he was hoping to test his Evolution 10 well in time for the WRC Safari slated for June 24-27. Equator is acting as a dry run for the WRC Safari Rally.
The second loop of the Leg 1 is a repeat run of the three Soysambu Conservancy sections-Elementeita, Soysambu and Sleeping Warrior.