•Asked about his approach to the penultimate fixture of the season in Rwanda this weekend, the Kenyan series leader insisted that the championship race is not over until it’s over.
•Gomes could seal a maiden continental title on the technical gravel roads of the iconic Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally if he scores a maximum of 30 points on Sunday.
Karan Patel has vowed to keep pushing leader Leroy Gomes in the race for this year’s FIA African Rally Championship title.
Asked about his approach to the penultimate fixture of the season in Rwanda this weekend, the Kenyan series leader insisted that the championship race is not over until it’s over.
“Of course, I don’t need any other motivation to put my foot down, so we just go with the plan we have, which is to attack. But I believe we also have a lot of other good drivers who are able,” Karan said.
Gomes could seal a maiden continental title on the technical gravel roads of the iconic Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally if he scores a maximum of 30 points on Sunday.
But Karan hopes to continue piling pressure on the Zambian to see if he can take some other points from the last two events in Rwanda and Zambia.
“Second time here (in Rwanda), we are overly excited. We are looking forward to a good competition. We are here to fight for the lead and let’s see how we accomplish that. The pressure might be there given Gomes’ lead on the log but as an experienced driver, I know that will not affect the way to attack the rally.”
Both Karan and Zambian Leroy will tackle this weekend’s event in their state-of-the-art Ford Fiesta Rally2 machines (the former R5). Karan will partner with Tauseef Khan while Leroy will be navigated by his wife Urshla Gomes.
While Karan remains a firm favourite at the penultimate stage, Gomes savours a good 27-point advantage following two wins during the season-opening Rallye Bandama in Ivory Coast and in the prestigious Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally.
Like Gomes, Karan also has two wins under his belt in Uganda and Tanzania. But the Kenyan has had to play catch up as a result of skipping the ivory Coast season opener.
Karan’s navigator Tauseef Khan was all smiles and said: “It feels great to return here after a whole year. We are looking forward to the event. Once we are done with recce, we will be able to tell how the route is.”
“Given Gomes’ position on the log, the only thing we can do in Rwanda is going flat-out and try to win the event and keep him behind us. But let’s see what the rest of the drivers will have to offer in terms of speed.”
Tauseef predicted a potentially technical race that he believes should be approached cleverly. “For us, we like twisty events, which we find more convenient to the car, but again it’s the kind of rally that should essentially keep us on the edge through and through.”
This year’s ARC has been to Ivory Coast (Bandama), Kenya (Equator), Tanzania and Uganda (Pearl).
ARC LoG AFTER TANZANIA
1 Leroy Gomes (ZMB) 102pts
2 Karan Patel (Ken) 75pts
3 =Giancarlo Davite (Rwa) 38pts
=Jeremy Wahome (Ken) 38pts
5 Hamza Anwar (KEN) 34pts
5=Yasin Nasser (Uga) 34pts
7 Jas Mangat ( Uga) 30pts
8 Mcrae Kimathi ( Ken) 28pts
9 Jasmeet Chana ( Ken) 21pts
10 Gurpal Sandhu (TZ) 17pts
11 Maxine Wahome (Ken) 15pts
12 Kaka Mahender Singh Jr (Uga) 13pts
13 Rio Smith (Ken) 9pts
14 Paras Pandya (Ken) 7pts