Cogebanque has pledged support to national rally champion Davite Giancarlo ahead of the 2014 first round of the Africa Rally Championship which starts next month in Cote d’Ivoire.
Cogebanque’s Chief Executive officer Alain Lepatre Lamontagne confirmed the development at a news conference yesterday in Kigali.
“We are happy to extend our support to Giancarlo and the rally fraternity in general. The continuous engagement in sports is aimed at ensuring the development of sports in the country,” Lamontagne said.
Lamontagne said the Bank has for years supported sports including the sponsorship of the annual Tour du Rwanda.
“We have found it wise to also invest in rally this year,” said Lamontagne without giving details of the sponsorship amount.
Cogebanque, which has spent Rwf. 200 million worth of sponsorship to sports, will offer ‘service support’ to Giancarlo who is seeking to win the 2014 ARC title.
The service support will include; air tickets for his Subaru Impreza N12 ‘Umuletti’ car and the service team as well as other related and basic expenses while in Cote d’Ivoire.
“I feel comfortable and proud after many years of personal efforts to ensure that I represent Rwanda in ARC, I have finally met a Rwandan company which understands the efforts I have been putting to bring the African championship title home,” Giancarlo remarked before adding;
“They (Cogebanque) understood very well what we want to achieve and that’s the reason they feel they want to be with me on this journey of ensuring that we bring this title home this year.”
Giancarlo said the support will boost his chances of winning the continental silverware. “I will be more comfortable, less stressed in meeting some of the expenses of the competition venues in different countries.”
“I want to keep my commitment to my sponsors and all Rwandans to bring the ARC home and all I can say is we are ready for the battle,” added Giancarlo.
Giancarlo will spend $10,000 (Rwf.6.7 million) in meeting costs for his first trip to Abidjan in the African Rally Championship.
After lifting the 120km Sprint de Rugende in Rwamagana over the weekend, the Rwandan Italian born driver has his eyes set on the Rallye Bandama in Cote D’Ivoire.
In Abidjan, Giancarlo will be hoping to hit the podium following last year’s withdrawal due to mechanical problems.
Last year, he failed to make it to the podium after his Mitsubishi Evo X suffered an engine problem 90m to the finish line. He suffered the same problem in Sasol South Africa rally but recovered to finish second in Zambia international rally.
The same unreliable Mitsubishi Evo X also cost him a podium finish in Tanzania rally, Kenya safari rally and Uganda Pearl rally. He opted for his Umuletti Subaru Impreza in the Mt. Gorilla Rally which paid off as he lifted the title in three hours, two minutes and seven seconds to come ahead of rivals Elefter Mitraros and Christakis Fitidis.
He ruled out participating in the final round of the tricky Total Rally International Madagascar terrain indicating that his chances of winning the African Rally Champion this year were slim.
In simple arithmetic, he had to win Madagascar final leg and hope that both his archrivals Mangat of Uganda and eventual winner Zambian Jassy Singh retire in the 440km rally.
With efforts of winning the title in four years still far from him, Giancarlo finished as second runner-up with 58 points, 48 points behind Singh who became the youngest ever FIA African Rally Champion at only 20 years of age.
With another campaign just a few weeks ahead, Giancarlo is ready to fight tooth and nail to bring the African Championship Title to Rwanda.