Hopes of national champion Giancarlo Davite reviving his chances of bouncing back into contention for the Africa rally championship title suffered a major blow yesterday as his Mistubishi Evo 10 broke down on the second day of the 2014 Rwanda Mountain Gorilla rally.
Davite navigated by Slyvia Vindevogel started the Mt. Gorilla rally on a poor note, finishing eighth, behind leader Mohammed Essa from Zambia in five minutes and four seconds.
Essa clocked four minutes and thirty one seconds with Mayaka Felekane coming in second sport ahead of Chaynes Gary from Cote d’Ivoire in the 4.06 Super Stage action held in Gahanga quarry ground on Friday.
On Saturday, drivers were expected to drive over seven sections from Muhanda, Busoro and Shyorongi section (2, 3 & 4) on day one, followed by Rusara, Remera and Rutongo section (5,6 & 7). However, one section was cancelled because of safety.
The Rwandan driver finished section three in lead with twenty minutes and eight seconds, Essa and Gary by some 30 seconds.
Hell broke as they prepared for section four. After undergoing services and everything set for the next stage, the transfer gear box of their Miss Evo broke on the start line, ending their hopes of defending this year’s edition and of course losing a valuable chance to garner points for the ARC title.
A disappointed Vindevogel said, “So sad for all our fans that came over from Uganda, Rwanda and especially Burundi…..rally is a terrible game,”
“Like former champion Philip Archenoul said after trying for four years; one minute, you are so happy, next minute you are so down…..it took me 10 minutes to accept to get out of the car.”
“I’m good; my limit is not there yet. Thanks to my buddy, Giancarlo and our crew for bringing Miss Evo X from Zimbabwe for full re-service and new engine.”
The former Africa rally champion navigator consoled the Rwandan crew saying, “The car is good. But hey, the god of rallying strikes again. It’s the nature of the sport, so high one minute, so down the next. How many times have we all been there?! Hero to zero in just a couple of seconds. But you know what? Never say die.”
By press time, Essa was in lead of the rally standings after Saturday’s action clocking one hour, fifty one minutes and six seconds. Ivorian Gary was second in 1:56:41 while Claude Kwizera followed closely in third spot in 1:59:39.
The rally resumes today in Muhanda, Ruli, Busoro and Muhondo.
By Bonnie Mugabe, The New Times
Courtesy of in2eastafrica.net