Rwanda Automobile club has cleared their top driver Rudy Cantanhede to take part in this year’s KCB Pearl of Africa rally.
The Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally, which is the second round of the Africa Rally Championship (ARC), is scheduled for April 25-27.
The local automobile club president Dismus Kayibanda said on Wednesday that Cantanhede’s permission will be issued due to the fact he has a strong car (Subaru Impreza) which can take part in the Pearl of Africa rally and be ready for the Rwanda Mountain Gorilla rally due in May.
“Other rally drivers in the country have weak cars which can’t take part in the two championships in a pace of three weeks,” Kayibanda said.
Kayibanda further added that had it not been for the fact of weak vehicles, Rwanda would have sent many representatives in the Ugandan rally. Giancarlo Davite had expressed interest in the Uganda rally but has since pulled out.
“I have started preparing for the Mountain Gorilla rally therefore, I will not take part in the Pearl of Africa rally,” he said yesterday.
Cantanhede finished seventh in the first round of the African rally championship held in Tanzania bagging two points.
The Belgian born driver is expected to join other continental foreign drivers including Riyaz Kurji, winner of the event in 2005 and 2006, Anwar brothers Azar and Asad (Kenya), Don Smith (Kenya), Yogesh Patel (Kenya), Anwar Pandya (Kenya), Lee Rose (Kenya).
Others are, Randeep Birdi (Tanzania), Japanese Hideaki Miyoshi (Japan), James Whyte (Zimbabwe), Lola Verlaque ‘ Rally Chics’ (South Africa), Ben Pelser (South Africa) and Muna Singh from Zambia.
Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) will sponsor this rally to a tune of around $40,000. Meanwhile, this year’s KCB Pearl of Africa rally will for the first time be screened on Super Sport channels. Flash Back Ltd will do the recording on behalf of the South Africa pay television.
Zimbabwe’s Conrad Rautenbach in a Subaru N12 won last year’s event on his way to the Africa title while Jas Mangat in a Golf GTI was the highest placed Ugandan in fourth place.
ARC standings after rd one:
Muna Singh (ZAM) - 10 pts
Jas Mangat (UGA) - 8
Lola Verlaque (S.A) - 6
Rudy Cantanhede (RWA) -2
Past Pearl of Africa winners
2007 - C. Rautenbach (ZW)
2006 - Riyaz Kurji (UG)
2005 - Riyaz Kurji (UG)