Kenya’s Karan Patel and Uganda’s Jas Mangat will renew their FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) rivalry in the season-closing ASAS Rally of Tanzania this weekend.
Uganda’s Yasin Nasser has an outside chance after a bad outing in Zambia where he retired last month, but Karan only needs a podium finish in the to lay his hands on the coveted title currently held by Ndola-based Leroy Gomes.
Karan and his partner Tauseef Khan were the star attraction at last year’s ARC series and despite beating Gomes in blistering fashion on his home turf in Zambia’s season finale, the Kenyan speedster saw the title elude him after a spirited fight.
And having already taken some impressive scalps at continental stage over the past two seasons, Karan will be looking to seal a maiden African title. in Iringa this weekend.
Karan’s march to the ARC summit this year has been phenomenon, but not without scares.
And what a wild practice session it was for Karan at the Zambia ARC Rally last month where a heart-pounding video of his Ford Fiesta Rally2 marque rolling went viral on social media.
But guess what? Karan and team worked tirelessly and managed to repair the car just in time for qualifying in Lusaka and went in to win the Zambian leg with vim and vigor.
Despite skipping the crowd pulling Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally and Rallye Bandama of Ivory Coast, Karan bounced back with four wins in Kenya (Equator), Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia to snatch the lead from longtime leader Nasser.
It will be interesting to witness how the season finale goes in the central Tanzania region.
Karan savours a 9-point advantage over Mangat on the ARC log but Nasser will also be waiting just in case the top two to falter.
Another Kenyan driver Hamza Anwar will be hoping to defend the FIA ARC Junior title against local Prince Charles Nyerere.
Nyerere leads the junior category with 78 against Hamza’s 60.
Hamza retired with a bad clutch in Zambia and some small gremlins and lost some vital points when he restarted the final day on the Super Rally rule to finish 5th. The super rally allows retired crews to rejoin a rally the following day after fixing the damage on their cars..
–Rally Program —
Reconnaissance for Day One and Two will take place on Thursday and Friday respectively.
Ceremonial start is scheduled for Friday at the Samora Stadium in Iringa.
Day one program of the rally revs up on Saturday at midday at the ASAS Farm in Mutembo and ends at the ASAS Energies Igumbillo.
Day two starts on Saturday at 7:00am and finishes at 2pm.wt Sao Hill Mafinga.
Kenyans, Zambians and Zimbabweans have dominated the Rally of Tanzania which was incepted in 2001.
Jamil Khan was Kenya’s first winner in 2002 whilst Manvir Baryan was the victor in 2017 and 18.
Other winners of Rally of Tanzania are the late Muna Singh of Zambia, Zim’s old boy Jamie White twice in 2009 and 2010 and Patrick Emonstpool of Belgium in 2016.
Jassy Chathe in 2014, Carl Tundo in 2021 and Karam Patel in 2022 were the other prolific drivers from Kenya who won this event.
Manvir and Jamie are the most successful drivers though in the history of the iconic Tanzania leg with two ARC titles under their belts.
ARC STANDINGS AFTER PENULTIMATE ZAMBIA MOTOR RALLY
1. Karan Patel (Kenya) 120
2. Jas Mangat (UG) 111
3. Yassir Nasser (UG) 93
4. Innocent Bwamiki (UG) 55
5. Prince Charles Nyerere (TZ) 55
6. Hamza Anwar (Kenya) 42