After failing to take part in the last two events of the 2008 FIA African Rally Championship, Rwanda’s rally ace Rudy Cantanhede is stuck at the foot of the drivers’ standing with two points.
The two-time national champion missed out on the KCB rally due to lack of sponsorship and reports from Rwanda’s Automobile Club (RAC) indicate that he pulled out of the Zimbabwe Challenge rally for the same reasons and that he is likely to even miss the final ARC event (Zambia rally) scheduled for September 12-14.
“There are high chances that he will not compete in Zambia because he has failed to secure enough sponsorship,” a close source to RAC said.
Hideaki Miyoshi has meanwhile closed in on what should be his first African rally crown after leapfrogging James Whyte at the top of the Championship charts.
The Japanese shot to the top two weeks ago after winning the Zimbabwe rally, the second last event on the 2008 ARC calendar.
Miyoshi and his co-driver Hakaru Ichino steered their Mitsubishi Evo 9 to victory beating their closest challenger Craig Green by one minute to snatch a commanding seven-point lead in the championship.
Zimbabwean Jamie Whyte, who won the KCB and Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally, lost the championship lead when he dropped out after his Mitsubishi Lancer skidded off the road in a forest and got stuck between trees on day two.
As a result, he did not only lose a chance to claim his home race but also greatly dented his chances of winning the prestigious continental title.
Miyoshi now needs at least four points in Zambia to be declared African champion. However, the Japanese knows that he will have to fend off what is expected to be a stiff challenge from Zambia’s Muna Singh and Whyte.
Singh, who is second in the ARC standings with 24 points and James Whyte patched in third spot (23), will be out to win in Lusaka and hope that Miyoshi scores less than four points.
The fast-paced and grueling rally (Zimbabwe) saw only 10 of the original 17 starters finishing the three-day event.