Rally ace Kwizera eyes national title

Rwanda driver Claude Kwizera is optimistic he will clinch this year's National Rally Championship (NRC) this weekend if he wins the Rally des Milles Collines scheduled for December 12-13.
Claude Kwizera (Usher Komugisha)
Claude Kwizera (Usher Komugisha)

Rwanda driver Claude Kwizera is optimistic he will clinch this year’s National Rally Championship (NRC) this weekend if he wins the Rally des Milles Collines scheduled for December 12-13.

The 43-year-old has amassed 100 points in five events on the NRC calendar including Rallye Sprint (23), Mt Gorilla rally (four points because he retired on the second day), Huye rally memorial Gakwaya (23), Rallye de l’Est Memorial Jean Pierre (30) and Rallye du Burundi (20).

However, Kwizera faces tough competition from Burundian driver Valerie Bukera who has 113 points on the NRC table standings, the highest this year. For Kwizera to win the title, he needs to win and hope that Bukera doesn’t score a podium finish.

Ahead of tomorrow’s super special stage at the Gahanga quarry, Kwizera told Times Sport that victory is his only target.

He said: “This is what I have been working hard to achieve. I want to win this weekend so that I become the national champion. I have a good car and I have checked out the route, it is okay.”

He will be navigated by Phillir Vanderhaert in a Subaru Impreza that the former believes has played a key role in his brilliant performance this year.

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Claude kwizera will be driving this Subaru Impreza in the Rally des Milles Collines. (Usher Komugisha)

Kwizera, who started driving competitively back in 2005 admitted that this is the first time he is in pole position to win the national title that has been dominated by Italian-born Davite Giancarlo who is also the reigning national champion.

Bukera who missed the Rallye Sprint in February, has dominated this year after winning the Mt Gorilla rally, Huye rally memorial Gakwaya as well as the Rallye du Burundi. He finished second at the Rallye de l’Est memorial Jean Pierre.

The winner of this weekend’s rally will get 25 points while the runner-up will be given 18 points.

Another Rwandan, Claude Gakwaya is in third position with 76 points while Giancarlo is fourth with 52 points having missed the Huye rally memorial Gakwaya and Rallye de l’Est memorial Jean Pierre. Burundi’s Abbas Mohammed is fifth with 49 points.

According to the Rwanda Automobile Club secretary general, Jean Francois Cyatangabo, the Burundians were included in NRC competitions to help promote the sport in their country following almost two decades without any competitions due to instability in most parts of the country.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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