Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo and his long standing navigator Tim Jessop hope to start the 2017 Kenya National Rally Championship on a high note as teams prepare for Mombasa Cement Rally on January 28.
Tundo, the four-time Safari Rally winner and multiple Kenya champion, will be entering a Ford Fiesta Proto which suffered reliability problems last season.
“We are entering the Fiesta but redoing all the wiring in the car,” said Tundo’s navigator Jessop. Tundo and Jessop rallied in a number of cars last year including the Subaru GC8, his new Fiesta, Onkar Rai’s Evolution 9 and the Triumph TR7 which he used in the Rift 10000 classic rally.
Tundo will renew his rivalry with WRC 1994 Safari Rally winner Ian Duncan, former African champion Jassi Chatthe and Baldev Chager.
Notable absentee this year will be Ford Fiesta R5 driver Rajbir Rai, who announced his retirement from the sport late in the 2016 season. With Rajbir away, the number of Ford Fiesta super cars remain two, the other being the R5 of youngster Manvir Baryan.
The Ford Fiesta Proto has yet to master the local terrain though Rajbir won the last two rallies in his R5. This year’s KNRC season will see some drivers promoted and others relegated in KNRC divisions.
The Shamba Boyz team of Mahesh Halai and Ketan Halai are moving up to KNRC Division 1 after clinching Division 2 honours last season. Onkar Rai, who won Division 1 returns to the KNRC Premier class which is a composition of the fastest drivers in the country.
Meanwhile, Harpreet Sagoo has announced his comeback on his home rally in Vipingo. Other drivers from Mombasa signed up for the event include, Naushad Kara Lota, Paras Pandya, Ammar Haq and the Coast Pekee sibling Adil, Ali and Izhar Mirza.
“We drove in Guru Nanak after nearly two years. The car behaved well in the first section and went into safe mode on the rest of the sections. As I had never finished a Guru Nank Rally, we managed to finish it in a slow pace but enjoyed the route. The car is nearly ready for this season, only requires remapping and we should be up and running. My navigator for this season will still be Paren Hirani. We will only do selected events due to work and personal commitments. The first round being a home round I would definitely like to bring the car back in a good position and condition, so we are ready for the Safari Rally. But overall, I would like to finish all the events I enter in and enhance my driving skills further,” said Sagoo.