MOMBASA, Kenya- Kenya’s Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo bid for the 2017 Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally glory suffered a huge drawback on Friday morning following the controversial cancellation of CS-20 results.
Tundo had led the race ahead of the final day of action in Mombasa before race stewards announced the cancellation of the Competitive Stage handing the initiative back to Tuthill Porsche Team British driver, Richard Jackson.
“The stewards of the event have convened during Thursday November 30th evening to hear evidence in regards to a protest in respect of the validity of CS20 being included in the results.
“The stewards believe that the decision of the CofC (Clerk of the Course) as published in bulletin 43 to have been collect at the time.
“However, after long deliberation and consideration, the stewards upheld the appeal by a majority and have agreed to cancel the stage,” a statement signed by event stewards; Ivan Smith (chairman), Eddy Kimani and Mario Bandiera stated.
Local hero Tundo had wrestle back the lead from Jackson and compatriot Baldev ‘Boldy’ Chager on the penultimate day of the competition and was poised to bag the crown on the final day of the rally on Friday.
Tundo had his charge boosted by mechanical issues suffered by Jackson and Chager ahead of the final stretch on Friday.
Navigator Ryan Champion was left to rue what he described a “bad day in the office” on Thursday and had candidly admitted they had lost a realistic chance of catching Tundo.
Chager and Jackson have driven like demons but watched in disbelief just how their fortunes dipped worsen with only a few stages of the route course to spare.
Tundo was the first driver out of the CS20 whose results have since been controversially cancelled by stewards where Jackson and Geoff Bell got stuck in mudholes.
“Stage one we wrong slotted which is my fault, we then got a puncture but got through the stage. Stage two was a complete fiasco where we got stuck in a mudhole,” Champion lamented.
Stig Blomqvist set the fastest stage time of 98.53 minutes in Thursday’s opening stage (CS19) where Tundo came in second.
Day nine which is the final run of the Safari Classic restarted with three gruelling stages on Sokoke, Maji Ya Chumvi and Mitangoni after which the cars will head back to Sarova Whitesands for the finish in the afternoon.
The searing Coast heat has been described by many as one of the most tormenting aspects of classic cockpits but crews have soldiered on in awesome fashion.
Ramesh Vishram, the affable star of the Kenyan classic scene, took an excursion into a bridge in the day’s opening stage.
His Ford Escort took quite a beating in the process but the duo 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 race, according to unconfirmed reports.
DAY 9 PROGRAMME (LAST DAY-1ST CAR)
8:08-CS22-Sokoke -Giriama 2 (102.06.km)
20:41Cs23-Maji ya Chumvi 2-Majengo (61.14km)
12.50-CS24-Mwamkura 2-Mitangoni (29.50km)
14.03: Whitesands finish
END OF DAY 8 RESULTS (Before cancellation of CS-20)
- Carl “Flash” Tundo/ Tim Jessop (Kenya/Triumph TR7) 728.20
- Richard Jackson/Ryan Champion (British /Porsche 911) 781.20
- Baldev Singh Chager /Ravi Soni (Kenya /Porsche 911) 802
- Geoff Bell/Timothy Challen (SA/Datsun 260Z) 814.31
- Jonathan Somen/Richard Hechle (Kenya/Ford Escort) 847.09
- Frank Tundo/Gavin Laurence (Kenya/Triumph TR7) 847.42
- Stig Blomqvist/ (Sweden/ Porsche 911) 849.10
- Roger Samuelsson/ (Sweden/ Porsche 911) 859.49
- Iain Freestone (British/Ford Escort MK1) 875.29