WITH two races to go, reigning champion Davite Giancarlo is not about to let the national championship title slip from his grip.
After suffering a hefty penalty in Rallye de Huye; the opening round of the championship, Giancarlo got his campaign back on track after winning the coveted KCB Mountain Gorilla Rally last weekend.
Giancarlo, who was overshadowed by Olivier Costa on the FIA Africa Rally Championship (ARC), completed the challenging 390km rally in three hours, 45 minutes and 28 seconds, nine 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, got his KCB Mountain Gorilla run off to a sour note when he skidded off the road after failing to negotiate a sharp corner (hair pin) in Day one’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 showed great resilience when he rose into third place on Day two after winning two of six competitive sections on Day 2.
The Italian-born driver finally broke clear of Horsey and Hans on Day 3 after posting the quickest time in the 12th and 14th competitive sections to win his first Mountain Gorilla rally.
For him [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 is just starting to sink in that I actually won the KCB Mountain Gorilla Rally and there is no doubt that it is one of my best races ever,” he said yesterday.
“Starting from the bottom and then rising all the way to the top, it was phenomenon,” he said before lauding his co-driver Vindevogel.
“She was unbelievable.”
Giancarlo was also crowned champion of the inaugural KCB East African Rally Challenge.
The remaining rounds on the championship include Rallye du Nord and Des 1000 Collines Rally.