NAIROBI, Kenya, March 14 – Kenya’s motor rallying sensations Jassi Chatthe, Carl Flash Tundo and Baldev Singh Chager will be aiming to equal Safari Rally records when the Kenyan round of FIA African Rally Championship gets underway in Nairobi on Friday.
The late Shekhar Mehta remains the most successful driver in one of Kenya’s longest running sporting events first held from May 27 to June 1 1953 as the East African Coronation Safari in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika, as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
To be precise, the Safari is Kenya’s fourth longest running event in Kenya after the Tannahill Shield in golf, Gossage Cup in football and Rugby’s Enterprise Cup.
Shekhar has won the Safari a record five times in 1973, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982.
The late Bjorn Waldegard who later won the Safari Classic twice, has four wins to his name in 1977, 1984, 1986 and 1990.
The late Joginder Singh laid his hands on the coveted title in 1965 with his sibling Jaswant Singh and went on to repeat the performance in 1974 and 1976.
Ian Duncan, the most successful Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) driver with six championship wins, was the victor on the 42nd Trust Bank Safari when the event counted towards World Rally Championship points.
The million dollar question as the 65th edition heads to the Great Rift Valley this weekend is- who are the men expected to rewrite Safari Rally history?
Tundo, son of veteran Safari driver Frank, will equal Shekhar Mehta’s record on the roll of honor should he lay his hands on the coveted title currently held by Jassi Chatthe.
From behind the scenes, the Singh’s will also be at it.
Chager and Chatthe are hoping to equal Joginder Singh’s record of three wins.
The safari has incidentally been dominated by two Singhs (Chager & Chatthe) over the past four editions.
Chager and Chatthe won back to back titles in 2013/14 and 2015/16 respectively.
George Mwangi became the first black indigenous Safari Rally winner when he guided veteran driver Azar Anwar to victory. Mwangi will be calling pace notes for Osman Abdullahi.