Kenyan Rally 'Dynasties' to Look Out for in 2021 WRC Safari Rally

Kenyan Rally 'Dynasties' to Look Out for in 2021 WRC Safari Rally

Naomi Wandede
updated at April 12, 2023 at 7:45 PM
  • Frank Tundo, the father of five-time Safari Rally winner Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo, has been rallying from 1972 to date
  • The Rai family has greatly dominated the Safari Rally scene in recent years, representing both Kenya and Uganda
  • Reigning Safari Rally champion and multiple Kenya Rally Champion Baldev Chager comes from a rallying family
  • Promising youngsters Hamza Anwar and McRae Kimathi have picked up from where their fathers left

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Over the weekend, young Swedish-Norwegian rally driver Oliver Solberg caused quite a sensation as he left home headed for Kenya, where he will be among the top drivers in the 2021 WRC Safari Rally.

Swedish-Norwegian rally driver Oliver Solberg(r). Photo: Oliver Solberg.
Swedish-Norwegian rally driver Oliver Solberg (r).Photo: Oliver Solberg.
Source: Facebook

A video shows him emerging from their house and exclaiming, “Safari, here we come”, while his father, who is walking right behind him, excitedly states, “Yeah, I am ready. I can’t wait, you know!”

But the youngster teasingly taps the elder Solberg on the chest and tells him, “I know you love this rally, but it’s not 1999 anymore, dad…"

Oliver, 19, is the son of the 2003 World Rally champion, Petter Solberg, and Swedish mother Pernilla Walfridsson, who is also a successful former rally driver.

Yet, this is not the only rallying family that will be represented in this week’s Safari Rally championship.

Kalle Rovanperä, 21, a Finnish rally driver and the son of former WRC driver Harri Rovanperä, will also be among the few drivers competing in the exclusive Rally 1 category this weekend.

Here in Kenya, they will battle it out with several local families that have dominated the local rallying scene for decades.

Below, we take a look at rallying dynasties that will be flying the Kenyan flag high during the 2021 Safari Rally.

1. The Tundos

Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo is the most prominent of the Tundos. He won five Safari Rally titles from 2004 to date, equaling Shekhar Mehta’s record of five wins. Carl’s dad Frank Tundo has been rallying from 1972 to date, while Carl’s sister Natasha Tundo became the second-ever woman to win a rally after Sylvia King. Carl’s mum Lynn Tundo was the first-ever woman clerk of the course.

2. The Rais

The Rai family has greatly dominated the Safari Rally in recent years. Onkar Rai and his elder brother Tejveer Rai will be among the top local drivers to watch out for this weekend. Their cousins Rajbir Rai and Amaanraj Rai have also enthralled the racing scene. Rajbir’s father, Sarbi Rai, won the Kenya National Rally Championship twice in the early 90s.

3. The Chagers

Baldev Chager, the reigning Safari Rally Champion and a multiple Kenya Rally Champion, is one of the four Flying Sikhs after Joginder Singh, Sarbi Rai and Manvir Baryan. Chager is the son of Daljit Chager who was a motorbike circuit racer. Baldev’s sister Avinder navigated in the Safari Rally with his brother’s very own good friend Kuku Sagoo.

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4. The Anwars

Hamza Anwar, 22, recently shocked many when he edged out established drivers to finish in the fifth position during the ARC Equator Rally in Naivasha. He will be participating in this year’s WRC Safari Rally.

Hamza is the son of Azar Anwar, the three-time national safari rally champion in Kenya (1998, 2005 and 2006) and the 2009 Motorsport Personality of the Year. Azar’s younger brother Asad Anwar was also a formidable driver; Asad was known for his daredevil antics on twisty sections and a master of special stages.

Azar’s son, Shazar, is the most prominent Quad bike rider in the country after winning many Autocross and Rally Raid titles.

5. Phineas Kimathi

The promising McRae Kimathi, 24, named after fallen British legend Colin McRae, has already proved his mettle on the rally course and will be among the contestants this weekend.

His father, Phineas Kimathi, was a celebrity in his own right during his rallying days.

In 1999, he gave Hyundai Motors of South Korea its first world title, the Safari Rally Formula 2 title. The elder Kimathi has also successfully spearheaded the campaign that regained Kenya its long-lost WRC status.

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Naomi Wandede photo
Naomi Wandede