Rwandan rally driver Jean-Claude Gakwaya and his navigator Jean-Claude Mugabo will skip the York Rally, the third round of Africa Rally Champion (ARC) that takes place from April 19-21 in Mpumalanga, South Africa.
Mugabo cited financial constraints as the reason that made the duo drop out of the race but added that they are eyeing the other ARC series in Uganda and Rwanda.
“Racing in South Africa is expensive, in terms of transportation of the racing car as well as the mechanical crew,” he said.
York Rally is third on the Africa Motorsport calendar after the Safari Rally in Kenya. The two-day event consists of 14 stages covering a distance of 220.59 kilometers.
Over 30 drivers have made the entry list, though amateur drivers will be eligible to compete for ARC points.
Among them is Multiple Racing team and defending champion Manvir Baryan (Kenya), together with pace note reader Drew Sturrock in the famous Skoda Fabia R5.
The reigning 2017 champion will be making his debut in South Africa, but the team have not scored any points in opening two ARC rounds held in Côte d’Ivoire (Bandama Rally) and Kenya (Safari Rally).
Leroy and Kleeven Gomes of Zambia will be making their second appearance in the York Rally. The brothers will be cruising Mitsubishi Evo 9 cars.
Other drivers to look out for is Kenya’s driver Piero Canobbo, who will be navigated by Silvia Frigo in the Mitsubishi Evo 10.
Team Rose from Kenya will also be represented by John Rose in Datsun 240 Z. Ismail Shermohammed (Zimbabwe) in the Toyota Yaris is also expected to take part in the race.
Gary Chaynes and Carl Tundo, who won in Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya respectively, will not compete. Both drivers are level on 25 points on the ARC standings.
From South Africa, the drivers will head for the fourth round of the ARC series; the Zambian International Rally slated is slated for June 22-24.
Pearl of African Rally in Uganda will mark the fifth round in July, followed by the Tanzania Rally in September.
The Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally will be the last ARC series according to the Africa Motorsport Championship calendar; it is scheduled to take place from October 5-7, 2018.