The Mother-Daughter Duo Making Strides in the Kenyan Rally Scene 

By Timothy Albrite

For Tinashe, being navigated by her mother is an amazing experience. “We get to share something that we both enjoy and build that bond while I also learn as much as I can from my mother’s multi-year experience in the sport, “ Tina says.

For Caroline, navigating for her daughter is a blend of pride and serious business. “It’s very exciting and humbling that she can actually drive competitively and allows me to navigate for her,” Caroline says. “During recce, we call the notes seriously, planning how she will drive during the race.”


Caroline, a speed junky, is no stranger to the rally scene. Married to Gatimu Mindo, Caroline’s journey into motorsports began in 2008. Alongside her husband, she started in 4×4 events before moving to Cross Country races, where the objective was to cover the distance in the shortest time possible using pace notes.

Caroline Gatimu is a Mother of two girls, Tina and Shishi. She also has a grandson, Sekani. A mechanic by profession and a rally driver. She navigated her daughter Tina in both the 2023 and 2024 WRC Safari Rally in Naivasha. 

As their passion for motorsports grew, they transitioned to the KNRC events with a 2WD Toyota Levin with their team, Divas on Wheels.

After a hiatus, Caroline returned to the scene in 2022, this time with Tinashe in tow. They participated in Autox events, with Tinashe starting out in a Magibug while Caroline drove the Toyota Levin.

By 2023, Tinashe had taken the driver’s seat. She made her debut in the World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally, navigated by her mother Caroline in the WRC Kenya event. Their teamwork paid off, with notable finishes in both 2023 and 2024, securing 10th and 7th positions respectively.

At just 19 years old, Tinashe Gatimu is defying the odds and making a name for herself in the male-dominated sport, all with her mother, Caroline Gatimu, by her side as her navigator. She started driving  in late 2022, the first event she took part in was in Nakuru in a Magi Bug, then moved to the Toyota Levin. She currently drives the Subaru Impreza GC8.

“It was my first time in the rally, and also the first time my mother navigated for me,” Tinashe recalls with a smile. 

Tinashe’s entry into motorsports wasn’t always a given. As a child, she was more likely to be found with a book in hand than on a steering wheel. It wasn’t until 2022, while working as a mechanic for her father’s 7-70 Motorsport Team during the East African Classic Rally, that Tinashe caught the rally bug. Inspired by her father’s involvement as a navigator, Tinashe decided to give driving a shot, marking the beginning of her impressive rally career.

The preparation for each rally is intense, both for the team and the car. Physical and mental fitness are paramount; the duo exercises regularly and stays active to maintain peak performance. Meanwhile, their Subaru N10 undergoes meticulous checks and adjustments, ensuring it’s race-ready. Practice sessions, both during free time and in events like Autox and RallyX, are crucial for honing their skills.

Caroline encourages other women to join the motorsports arena. “Please come and join us,” she urges. “Learn what it takes to be a motorsport participant. I look forward to the day we shall see a whole bunch of ladies in competitive events, just as it was a few years back.”

Tinashe also gives a word to women who would want to participate in motorsports, “Come out and see where you can plug in. There are a lot of people, both men and women, who are ready and willing to help and support you.”

AutoNews asked Caroline about her dream car and she said she would love to own a Toyota Prado.

As for electric vehicles (EVs), she’s still researching their operations mechanically but acknowledges their role in creating a cleaner, greener environment.

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