Controversy hit the 2017 East Africa Safari Classic Rally yesterday when organisers declared Kenya’s Carl Tundo, driving a Triumph TR7 car, and Richard Jackson of England (Porsche 911) the joint winners.
Kenya’s Baldev, Chager in a Porsche 911 car, came third. Earlier on the penultimate day on Thursday, organisers baffled many when they cancelled a stage, thereby erasing a huge 53 minutes lead that Tundo had built that had virtually guaranteed him the title.
“I am quite happy with the decision rather than finish second according to the Steward’s Meeting at the end of Day Eight action. It was a hush decision which didn’t help the drivers and officials of the rally,’’ Tundo told Nation Sport.
The decision carried out by the Stewards of the Meeting, past midnight of the last day of the competition attracted wide spread criticism.
“This was the main reason I did not enter this year because I realized last time that the organizers do not apply the rules objectively or fairly,” leading rally driver Alastair Cavenagh said.
“I question why any entrant would consider paying such huge entry fees when the organizers can and will overule and annul bonafide stage time results. It is a mockery of rallying and the event in general,’’ added the 1999 Kenya National Rally Championship winner.
Jackson did lodge a protest, accusing Tundo of going 400 metres off the main course to avoid a mud hole. Driving a Porsche, Jackson and his navigator, Ryan Champion become the first British drivers to win the world renown marathon rally, though sharing this year’s victory with Tundo.