Carl Tundo scored his fifth victory in the Safari Rally, equalling the record achieved by Shekhar Mehta in the old Safari WRC days.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X drivers took the top four places, Tundo finishing over nine minutes ahead of Baldev Chager, but only after a serious crash on the final stage sidelined the Skoda Fabia R5 of Onkar Rai, which had been lying only seconds behind the winner.
Rai’s co-driver, Gareth Dawe, was air-lifted to hospital with a fractured vertebra.
Top non-rally car was the 16th placed Land Rover of Geoff Mayes, while the only non-African resident driver was 18th placed Irish Escort driver Matt Shinnors.
Non finishers included reigning African Rally Champion Manvir Baryan whose Fabia R5 ingested mud and had engine failure, and 2015 champion Jaspreet Chatthe who withdrew his Mitsubishi after troubles.
This was the second round of the 2018 African Rally Championship and was run as part of the Kenyan federation’s “WRC Safari Rally Project”.
2018 Safari Rally observers Simon Larkin (r) and Oliver Ciesla with rally officials.
No driver present at the first round, the Bandama Rally, competed on the Safari Rally.
Miraculously, the severe storms for which Kenyan weather alerts had been issued, did not arrive over the rally route during the critically important stages on the Saturday, and the hastily rescheduled event ran more kilometres than originally projected!
There were many unexpected aspects to the event. Kenya’s top driver, Ian Duncan, (1994 WRC Safari winner) did not enter the event, preferring to compete instead in the Safari Classic event two weeks later, to be held at the traditional Easter date.
There were published media reports that two of the FIA’s observers said to have attended the event, but FIA sources said that one of them was thought not to be at the event.
Also, expectations that the Kenyan President would flag competitors away from the start in Nairobi were dashed when it was discovered he had gone on holiday abroad instead.
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