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Karan Patel out to push Gomes in Africa Rally hunt

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Mechanics from Zambia putting final preparations to Leroy Gomes Ford Fiesta Rally 2
  • Gomes could seal the African title with 30 points in Rwanda
  • Karan has promised to fight till the end
  • There is a 27 point difference between the two in the standings

Karan Patel has vowed to keep pushing leader Leroy Gomes in the race for this year’s FIA African Rally Championship title.

The Kenyan series leader will hope to put up a good performance at this weekend’s penultimate clash in Rwanda, and says the Championship race is still far from over.

“Of course I don’t need any other motivation to put my foot down, so we just come 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 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,” he said.

Both Karan and Zambian Leroy will tackle this weekend’s event in their state-of-the-art Ford Fiesta Rally2 machines (the former R5).

Mechanics from Zambia

Caption: Mechanics from Zambia putting final preparations to Leroy Gomes Ford Fiesta Rally 2 at Kigali Convention Cente.

Karan will be partnering up with Tauseef Khan while Leroy will be navigated by his wife Urshla Gomes.

While Karan remains a firm favourite in the penultimate stage, Gomes savors 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 he Kenyan has had to play catch as a result of skipping the ivory Coast season opener.

Karan’s navigator Tauseef Khan was all smiles and hers what he had to say: “It feels great to return here after a whole year. We are looking forward to the event. Once we are 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 go 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 which he believes should be approached cleverly. “For us, we like the twisty events, which we find more convenient to the car, but again its 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) as well as Zambia.

FIA AFRICAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 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

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