Karan beats Gomes to seal maiden ARC Equator win
Kenya National Rally Championship leader Karan Patel has attributed his maiden African Rally Championship (ARC) win to sheer consistency and attention to detail.
The Kenyan speedster beat Zambian champion Leroy Gomes by a massive 3:13.1minutes margin to rack up victory on the energy-sapping volcanic ash soil stages in Naivasha on Sunday.
Navigated by Tauseef Khan in a Ford Fiesta Rally 2, Karan achieved the feat on claiming four out of the possible eight stages.
His calm and assured match to the podium belied the excitement that was bubbling underneath; and it exploded in a solid stream of joy in the presence of Sports CS Amb. (Dr) Amina Mohamed.
A cumulative two-day total of 02:26:55.4hours was what he needed to cement his lead on the KNRC log..
Karan set the fastest time in qualifying stage of the event which handed crews the initial opportunity to savor the classic Safari routes Friday afternoon.
Karan’s stellar drive in the lakeside town of Naivasha went down as his third successive win of the 2022 season after Il-Bisil and Mogotio. It was also his fifth career victory after Arusha Guru Nanak 2020 and KNRC Voi Rally 2021.
Karan was all smiles and here is what he had to say about his performance in Naivasha: “It’s a good feeling to win the Equator Rally. I’m happy for the position because we work hard all the time to be on the prime of our career, hard work pays off.“
Karan went on: “The competition was all good and I am happy to have our brothers from the continent competing in Kenya. The drive-shaft problems towards the last two stages of Saturday slowed us down but we were lucky to nurse the car to service and changed it to tackled leg two with a good vehicle.”
Zambian couple of Leroy and Urshlla Gomes were happy with their maiden podium in Kenya but candidly admitted that Karan is sublimely fast.
“It’s exciting to see a new crop of drivers coming up in Kenya. The FIA Rally Star drivers were really quick and drove really well. On our side, I think we have shown some pace on Kenyan soil and tried to chase some positions.”
“It was a great experience winning three stages. But then again when you come to imagine that you are not racing against all the best Kenyan drivers; I mean there is still amazing new talent here,” said Gomes.
Third was Jasmeet Chana in a career best ARC finish while FIA Rally Star driver Jeremy Wahome settled for fourth place.
Jeremy and his partner Victor Okundi regretted losing second overall position following an early morning Service error at the KWS Institute Naivasha. “Earlier in the morning, we checked out early out of the Service In and my silly mistake has cost us a podium position,” Okundi said.
China who was all smiles. He noted: “It was a long and grueling weekend with very tough volcanic ash soil stages. I am glad to score KNRC points but it’s still early days for the championship which heads to Eldoret.”
Jeremy said: “We had a good day yesterday (Saturday) on the three stages. We ran a trouble-free leg. We didn’t have any issues.”
“When everyone else had gremlins, we sailed through. We weren’t going slow but just being cautious.”
“We knew we won’t catch Karan though. It was really sad that we lost the second position over a mistake that could have been easily avoided.”
A total of 12 out of 19 starters survived the demanding course which was a dry run for the 2022 WRC Safari Rally to be held in the course in June.
Saturday’s Leg 1 route revolved around Elementeita, Sleeping Warrior and Soysambu.
Today’s Leg 2 featured only two stages around Loldia and Kedong.
FINAL STANDINGS AFTER SS8 KEDONG
1 Karan Patel/ Tauseef Khan (Ford Fiesta – Rally 2) 02:26:55.4
2 Leroy Gomes/ Urshlla Gomes (Ford Fiesta – Rally 2) 02:30:08.6
3 Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 02:30:51.0
4. Jeremy Wahome/Victor Okundi (Ford Fiesta – Rally3) 02:30:56.0
5 Giancarlo Davite/Sylvia Vindevogel (Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 02:42:19.2
6 Maxine Wahome / Murage Waigwa ( Subaru Impreza) 02:53:48.1
7 Hamza Anwar/ Adnan Din ( Mitsubishi Evolution 10 ) 03:06:15.3
8 Mcrae Kimathi/ Mwangi Kioni (Ford Fiesta – Rally 3) 03:11:41.6
9 Steve Mwangi/Dennis Mwenda (Subaru) 03:14.53.1
10 Rio Smith / Riyaz Ismail (Ford Fiesta – Rally 4) 03:18:12.2
11 Paras Pandya/ Falgun Bhojak (Mitsubishi Evolution 10) 03:18:18.9
12. Leo Varese/Kigo Kareithi (Toyota Auris) 3:34.06.8