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Drivers now shift focus to KCB Safari Rally

By | February 10th 2010

By FeverPitch Reporter

As the KCB Biashara Banking Rally dust settled at Iten Service Park on Sunday, drivers were left to mull over their fortunes in the forthcoming KCB Safari Rally.

The season-opening Western Kenya Motor Club round saw competitors shift their focus towards the KCB Safari Rally which relocates to Thika and Kajiado between April 2 and 4.

The KCB Safari Rally 2010 counts towards the second round of the FIA African Rally Championship series, the KCB Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) and the 3rd KCB East African Rally Challenge (EARC).

Munir Khan of CYN Energy Rally Team stunned all and sundry when he won the 2WD class co-driven by physically challenged Sam Jethwa in a Toyota Levin.

Leo Varese came third overall behind Oilibya’s Charles Hinga, but hinted he was going to end his Safari jinx.

"The Safari Rally will definitely determine the course that the 2WD Championship will take," said Leo.

The weekend tour was the first occasion to see Group N drivers adjust to the turbo restrictors’ increment from 32mm to 33mm. It was also the first event that witnessed the the dropping of Ian Duncan’s two per cent penalty that the legendary driver has previously incurred for driving non-homologated cars. KNRC class was not without hair-raising thrills.

Despite Lee Rose’s early exit, defending champion Carl Tundo was no slough at his game- eclipsing second placed Duncan by a stunning 1.53miniutes margin!

A trouble-free run in Iten was Tundo’s seventh scalp with the ex-Lola Varlaque Mitsubishi Evolution 9 and his second straight win in Eldoret, incidentally with the same championship-winning contraption.

Tundo was elated with an early lead in the 2010 KNRC series but admitted the Safari would be a fast and furious affair. "We’ve started off very well and look forward to a very competitive Safari Rally," said Tundo.

The 1999 Champion Alastair Cavenagh (third) and immediate former Champion Baldev Chager (fourth) hoped to get back into the groove adding that he who wins the Safari should have a head start in the KNRC title race.

In spite of the overt act of adrenaline, the treacherous Kerio Valley proved quite unforgiving to some crews. The all-African "Rally Chicks" crew of Jedidah Weru and her partner Stella Macharia got a standing ovation at the Iten ceremonial finish graced by KCB KNRC sponsors- iway Africa, Car Track, Highlands water, Identisys and National Oil.

Though "Rally Chicks" were the tail-end-Charlie in 19th position, Jedidah’s finish in her debut was something of a manifest fulfillment. Out of the 19 starters in the KNRC class, only 19 survived the demanding course. Some of the causalities included Peter Horsey.

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