NATIONAL rally champion Davite Giancarlo recorded one of the best comebacks in the sport after winning this year’s KCB Mountain Gorilla Rally.
Giancarlo, who was overshadowed by Olivier Costa on the FIA Africa Rally Championship (ARC), completed the challenging 805km rally in three hours, 45 minutes and 28 seconds, eight seconds clear of the Pirelli-WRC Star duo of Peter Horsey (Kenya) and Tanzania’s Navraj Hans.
It was one of the closest finishes in local rally and signalled Giancarlo’s intentions of becoming only the second driver to defend the national title after Rudy Cantanhede.
Giancarlo, who was navigated by Sylvia Vindevogel in a yellow Subaru Impreza N11, started his campaign on a sour note when his Subaru skidded off the road after failing to negotiate a sharp corner (hair pin) in Friday’s Super Special Stage.
He ended up posting the slowest time of the section (two minutes and 52 seconds) but like a true champion, he made up for the lapse by posting the quickest time in Saturday’s third and fourth competitive sections to elevate him into third place behind Horsey and Hans.
Davite finally broke clear of the pair yesterday (Day 3) when he posted the quickest times in the12th-(six minutes and 30 seconds) and 14th-(32 minutes and 32 seconds) competitive sections.
For Giancarlo, it was a moment of joy on two counts; it was his first Mountain Gorilla win and secondly, the way he wrestled himself back into contention.
“It’s absolutely amazing to win this rally,” said Giancarlo. “This was one of the most difficult events I ever did.
“I had a few seconds cushion and drove sensibly fast but still kept a good rhythm and pace.”
Following the victory, he was also crowned the first ever KCB East African Rally Challenge champion.
Besides title sponsors Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB); Laico Kigali Umubano, Sonatubes, Aquamist, Brussels airlines, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Kiboko Safaris, Imexco and COGEAR are all said to have bankrolled the three-day event which still stands out as Rwanda’s premier rally.
2009 KCB Mt. Gorilla Rally
D. Giancarlo/ S. Vindevogel (Subaru N11) 03:45:28
P. Horsey/M. Matovu (Mitsubishi Evo 9) 03:45:37
N. Hans/ D. Sihoka (Mitsubishi Evo 9) 03:45:37
R. Cantanhede/B. Cantanhede (Subaru N8) 03:47:36
C. Fitidis/ G. Dekelver (Subaru N12) 03:48:35
A. Horsey/ O. Taylor (Mitsubishi Evo 8) 03:54:39
V. Bukera/K. Nital (Subaru N10) 04:00:02
A. Dethise/ F. Musafili (Subaru N11) 04:21:22
C. Attwell/ G. Stead (Subaru N12) 05:38:24
M. Adrianjafy/ T. Rahamefy (Subaru WRX) 08:16:29
O. Costa/ J.F Ruhashyankiko (Subaru N11) 02:23
R. Bharij/K. Henri (Subaru N10) 02:24
M. Essa/A. Naik (Subaru N11) 02:25
T. Saegerman/ V. Robert (Subaru GT) 02:30
E. Mitraros/ P. Paganin (Subaru N10) 02:45:16