As the Italian-born driver wins the 2008 NRC title
Irrespective of the outcome of the Des Mille Collines rally which is the final round on this year’s National Rally Championship, Rwanda Automobile Club has confirmed Davite Giancarlo as the 2008 national rally champion.
This comes days after the Italian born driver’s dominant victory in last Saturday’s Rallye de L’est which was held in the Eastern Province.
Giancarlo, who has been racing in Rwanda for the last six years, finally realized his dream after cruising to his third podium finish of the season.
Enroute Saturday’s win, Giancarlo who was driving a yellow Subaru Impreza which used to belong to two-time national champion Rudy Cantanhede, beat off stiff challenges from Tony Saegerman and Elefter Mitraros who finished second and third respectively.
After bagging maximum points (65) on Saturday, Giancarlo amassed 261 points widening his lead at the top by a whole 86points.
Saegerman has 175 points while Olivier Costa who failed to finish the race following mechanical complications is in third spot with 165points.
“I’m now champion irrespective of what happens in the Des Mille Collines rally,” a delighted Giancarlo told Times Sport yesterday.
Giancarlo attributes his maiden title to a series of consistent results and being able to finish all his races.
“If a driver can finish all his races, then he has a genuine chance of finishing top in the championship and that is exactly what I did. I finished all my races,” he added.
From six races, Giancarlo managed three podium finishes.
He was first runner-up in the Memorial and Bugesera rally sprints before winning last weekend’s Rallye de L’est.
He also finished joint 4th in the Mountain Gorilla rally and Rallye de Huye and finished fifth in Rallye du Nord.
The Des Mille Collines rally is scheduled for December 7-9.
Cantanhede’s relocation to his native home (Belgium) a couple of months ago, was a blessing in disguise for his rivals because it opened up the door for other drivers to come to the fore.
Giancarlo fully seized that opportunity, although he acknowledges that Cantanhede’s departure is a big blow for the growing sport in the country.
“Rudy was simply the best. He is a very talented driver and had put the competitive level so high,” he said.
Asked whether he ever considered challenging Cantanhede for the title, he said, “I know that I’m a good driver but Rudy was a class part. As long as he finished the race, he was always assured of winning it.”