V-Shell Pearly of Africa Rally
Top five finishers
Hassan Alwi/Enoch Olinga 2:41:01
Arthur Blick Jr/Unisan Bakunda 2:41:53
Christakis Fitidis/Eric Maxime Nzamwita 2:48:58
Omar Mayanja/Hussein Mukuye 2:55:18
Ismail Shemohammed/ Vihir Patel 2:56:18
Kenyan Rally Champion Don Smith secured the 2016 Africa Rally Championship (ARC) title while Zambia’s Ismail Shermohammed became the first ever ARC 2WD champion.
Smith, navigated by Bob Kaugi, needed just to finish the V-Shell Pearl of Africa Rally to clinch the crown and that is what exactly the pair did in the three-day race that ended over the weekend in Mubende, Uganda.
With only two ARC contenders making it to the finish point, Ismail Shermohammed finished fifth overall to top the ARC category as well as close up the 2WD class (meant for new drivers in the ARC) while Don Smith finished in second (ARC race) and ninth overall.
The Kenyan was confirmed the 2016 Africa Rally championship (ARC) winner since his closest competitor Zambia’s Muna Singh Junior retired on fifth stage on Saturday.
Smith came into the sixth round of the Africa rally with 79 points, 22 points above Muna, meaning he needed to finish the event to be declared the winner this year.
The victory meant that he now leads the standing with 108 points ahead of the final seventh round of the ARC to be held in Madagascar in November. He is the second successive Kenyan to win the ARC title after Jaspreet Chatthe who won it last year.
However, it was sad news for most drivers as they dropped out before the rally came to an end; most of them had been tipped to win the rally prior to the event. Among them is favourite Muna Singh Jr. whose fuel pump ended his ARC campaign prematurely.
Uganda’s Duncan Mubiru was forced to drop out in the early stages of the day due to mechanical problems while Desh Kananura dropped out despite leading after stage two.
Ugandan Ronald Sebuguzi also suffered a mechanical problem during the third stage, the other casualties included; Ambrose Byona, Geoffrey Nsamba, Ahmed Ashraf, and Eddie Mukiibi.
Burundi’s Valery Bukera, who won this year’s Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally, was the first foreign driver to bow out of the event on day one in Busiika only 4km into the race.
Another Burundian Mohamed Abbas Roshanali finished 12th with a time of 02:00:27 in a race that was won by Uganda’s Hassan Alwi clocking 02:41:03.
Arthur Blick Jr came second at 02:41:53 and Christakis Fitidis navigated by Rwanda’s Eric Nzamwita completed the podium positions after clocking a time of 02:48:58. Only 15 drivers finished the race.
Meanwhile, Giancarlo Davite was blocked from taking part in the V-Shell Pearly of Africa Rally. According to his navigator, Sylvia Vindevogel, the pair was barred since they are serving a one-year suspension from the sport by the Rwanda Automobile Club.