ARC title race: Top five drivers
1. Manvir Baryan (Ken) 65
2. Leroy Gomes (Zam) 53
3. Kleevan Gomes (Zam) 38
4. Christakis Fitidis (Uga) 36
5. Jaspreet Chatthe (Ken) 28
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally, the penultimate round on the 2017 Africa Rally Championship (ARC) calendar, scheduled for this weekend, could determine the title winner before the final round in Zambia.
Kenyan driver Manvir Baryan, chasing a first ARC title, leads the race with 65 points, 12 points more than his nearest challenger Leroy Gomes from Zambia.
With 50 points still up for grabs in the battle for the continental championship crown, victory in Rwanda would all but hand Baryan the title but if he fails to finish and his rival Gomes wins, the winner will be determined in Zambia next month.
Baryan, having won the last two rounds; the Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally and Rally of Tanzania, will go into the weekend not only as the favourite to win the race in Rwanda but for the ARC title, his first ever.
So, it will be up to Gomes to push for a podium finish and hope that Baryan fails to finish in the top five in order to narrow the gap and delay his rival’s early celebration.
Meanwhile, Rwanda’s top crew of Jean Claude Gakwaya and Jean Claude Mugabo is vowing to put on a show for the home fans in their Subaru Impreza.
Gakwaya and Mugabe are aiming to score a first podium finish in the home round of the Africa Rally Championship. The crew’s best finish in the event has been the fourth position last year.
“Our target is to finish on the podium this time round. This being a home race, we know the routes quite well, and it gives us a good opportunity to push to achieve our goal. We want to put on a good show for our fans,” Mugabo who is Gakwaya’s navigator told Times Sport on Tuesday.
He added that, “Last year we came close but had to settle for fourth. But this year, we believe it is possible. We are familiar with the terrain and routes, which should be an advantage for us.”
A total of 20 crews have registered for the three-day event that will be flagged off from Kigali Convention Centre on Friday before the cars head to Bugesera in Eastern Province for the real action on the weekend- the 203.95 kilometre competitive distance.