THE reigning national rally champion Davite Giancarlo put on a brilliant performance as he defied odds to win a grueling 120km Sprint de Rugende in Rwamagana over the weekend.
Sprint de Rugende was the opening round on the seven-round national rally competition calendar. It trekked from Rweli, Gahengeri, Nzige to Muyumbu and climaxed at Rugende.
In a Subaru Impreza N12, Giancarlo traversed the four competitive sections in a total time of one hour, five minutes and one second.
The 2013 Mt Gorilla rally champion used the race for rehearsal as he bids to compete in the opening round of the 2014 Rallye Bandama Cote d’Ivoire which has been set for March 14-16.
He told Times Sport, “I am happy for the win. It was a trial performance for me and the car [Subaru Impreza]. We have posted good results and the car is in great shape.”
“We had a good performance in the sprint and as usual, am looking forward to another triumphant season but I also hope the jubilations can be extended on the continent,” added Giancarlo who was navigated by long time friend Eric Nzamwita.
This year, Giancarlo will be gunning to win the African Rally Championship title despite finishing third last year.
Claude Kwizera, in a Subaru Impreza N11 staged a superb performance as he finished in second place two minutes and 12 seconds behind Giancarlo. Burundian Abbas Mohammed finished third after clocking one hour, eleven minutes and 16 seconds, while Ange Cyatangabo in Golf finished fourth, 15 minutes and 30 seconds behind Mohammed.
Five cars failed to complete the four competitive sections following mechanical problems. Johhny Murengezi in a Subaru Impreza N4 was the first to bow out with an engine failure after finishing the first competitive section ranked second.
He was followed by Mayaka Felekani, Claude Gakwaya, Genesse Semana and Janvier Mutuga after the third competitive section.
Drivers will now shift focus to the second round, Rallye de l’Est on March 22. It will be followed by Rallye de Huye ‘Memorial Gakwaya’ on June 7-8, while Rwanda Mountain GorillaRally is slated for July 18-20.
Rally Sprint, due on September 1, and Rallye du Nord, on October 18, are the fifth and sixth rounds in the championship, while Rallye des 1000 Collines will wind up the busy schedule.