Rally driver Claude Kwizera has announced his retirement from the sport, following a fatal accident during last year’s Rallye des Mille Collines in which his navigator Christophe Duquesne died.
The 43-year-old started racing in 2004, and is considered one of the best local drivers, having participated among others in the Gakwaya Memorial, the Mountain Gorilla Rally, the Rallye des Mille Collines as well as other races in Burundi and Uganda.
“I have decided to retire from motor racing having lost my best friend and co-driver Christophe Duquesne last year,” Kwizera announced on Friday.
He added, “For the good of my family and friends, I have retired. Before, I was thinking of continuing to compete when I fully recover, but I have changed my mind and will not race again.”
“I suffered a seriously broken arm in the accident, which required major surgery and I doubt whether it will easily get back in shape.”
Kwizera continues to recover from the accident that claimed the life of his navigator Dusquene in November last year. Kwizera needed to win Rallye des Mille Collines to secure his first National rally championship title—he was in tight competition with Burundian Valerie Bukera.
In the accident, Kwizera’s Subaru Impreza N12 skidded off the road in Gakenke, and hit a tree on the passenger side where Duquesne sat. The navigator was rushed to Gahini Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The rally was immediately called off and will be re-named after Duquesne, according to the Rwanda Automobile Club.