AFTER reccing through this year’s KCB Mountain Gorilla rally (the third and final tier on the Inaugural East Africa Rally Challenge series) route, local speedster Olivier Costa believes a cautious approach will come in handy.
Costa, who is enjoying the season of his life following a remarkable fourth spot finish in this year’s FIA African Rally Championship (ARC), revealed that the route is a mixture of everything and required drivers to be on their toes.
“Some roads are good; some are very challenging because they are bumpy with sharp corners,” the Burn-Energy drink sponsored driver echoed.
“I anticipate a tough rally but I’m still looking forward to the challenge. We have some very good drivers coming over so it’s going to be very interesting.”
Last month, Costa rounded off his ARC campaign in style after a second spot finish in the Zimbabwe Challenge rally and hopes to shift that form in the 805km event which dusts off this Friday.
“I’m ready to go,” he calmly said.
While declining to predict what position he would finish in, Costa who will be navigated by Jean François Ruhashyankiko in a Subaru N11 believes home advantage should see local drivers doing very well because of their experience on the roads.
Besides Costa, national champion Davite Giancarlo, Tony Saegerman, Elefter Mitraros and Johnny Murengezi are part of sixteen drivers chasing for podium slots.
The rally has also been heightened by the involvement of seven Pirelli WRC Star championship drivers. The Pirelli championship is reserved for competitors below 27 years with the winner going for six WRC events in 2010.
Kenyan ace Peter Horsey (Mitsubishi Evo 9) leads the list which also includes younger brother Alex Horsey (Mitsubishi Evo 8), Zimbabwean Chase Atwell (Subaru N12), Zambian Essa Mohammed (Subaru N11), Tanzanian Hans Navraj (Mitsubishi Evo 9), Kenyan Raj Bhaarij (Subaru N10) and Madagascar’s Mathieu Adrianjafy (Subaru N10).
Other notable drivers include two-time national champion Rudy Cantanhede and Burundi’s sensational Valery Bukera.
The event, which runs from September 18 to 20, in the north and the east of Rwanda with 373km spread over 14 competitive sections.
Besides lead sponsors Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Laico Kigali Umubano, the sports ministry, Sonatubes, COGEAR insurance company, Kiboko travel tours, Brussels Airlines, IMEXCO, Rwanda Development Board and Aquamist have also bankrolled the race.