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Thu 29 Jun 2023

All-female crews conquer gruelling Safari Rally Kenya

History was made at Safari Rally Kenya last week as four all-female crews took the start of the FIA World Rally Championship’s seventh round.

Among the trailblazing teams were Tina and Caroline Gatimu - the first mother-daughter crew to tackle the African classic in its 70-edition history - in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Joining them in a trio of Subaru Imprezas were Tash Tundo/Chantal Young, Jennifer Malik/Wangui Mungai and Pauline Sheghu/Linet Ayuko.

All four teams were proudly supported by the Government of Kenya through its Talanta Hela initiative. Aligned with the government's bottom-up economic transformation agenda, Talanta Hela strives to identify, nurture, market, and monetise talent.

Tundo, sister of five-time Safari winner Carl, finished an impressive eighth in the national rally despite breaking a driveshaft on day one.

“We got a great result,” she said, “but I’m really gutted because on the first day my driveshaft broke in Kasarani, so I got a 10-minute penalty. We could’ve been on the podium if not, which is gutting.

“Talanta Hela initially came up with the idea to have four ladies’ teams and we went from there, really. We found other sponsors, I found one and Pauline found another, and we just went that way.”

Senior Events Director Simon Larkin emphasised WRC Promoter's commitment to fostering greater participation in rallying across Africa, adding: “We think the Talanta Hela initiative that CS Namwamba has created is an opportunity and a stepping stone for people to get [to the top] and we are actively supporting a number of drivers.

“This is our attempt to try to make it a bit of a pyramid, if you like, to get more participation, not only at the top level but also with grassroots participation as well.”