Kenyan driver Karan Patel finished ahead of Zambia’s Leroy Gomes on Sunday to win the 2022 Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally in Bugesera.
Gomes was favorite to win the race after claiming the top spot in Saturday’s Leg One race with a 20 second advantage ahead of Patel but the Kenyan bounced back to win Sunday’s Leg Two race in the dusty roads of Nemba, Kamabuye and Gako to win the championship in style.
It’s a gap that he reduced to just 1.4 seconds after the opening special stage of Sunday’s race contested in Kamabuye during which he finished at the summit, 10.9 seconds ahead of Gomes.
Patel, who was driving Ford Fiesta R5 with his co-driver Khan Tauseef, added another 10.1 second advantage in the 11th special stage and went on to claim the top spot till the last special stage (Gako B) with a 13.2 second advantage overall.
Kenyan driver Karan Patel and his co-driver with the trophies after winning the 2022 Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally in Bugesera. Dan Nsengiyumva
Overall, the Kenyan won the Rwandan Rally after racing a total of 171.29km in 01 hour 19 minutes and 40.3 seconds.
Patel had 75 points before the Rwandan Rally and a victory in Bugesera saw his points rise to 105 after collecting all the 30 points of the race to keep his second place on the 2022 African Rally Championship (ARC) rankings.
He now trails 19 points behind Gomes who remains top of the African Rally Championship rankings with 126 points and how the duo will perform during the forthcoming Zambian Rally Championship will decide who will be crowned the 2022 African Rally champion.
Overall, the 2022 Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally started with 20 drivers but 14 managed to finish after six of them dropped out for various reasons. Miss Rwanda 2017 finalist Queen Kalimpinya is among the drivers who did not finish the race as she abandoned after her car encountered mechanical issues at the 11th special stage.
Giancarlo Davite, another Rwandan representative, also abandoned after his car got damaged at the ninth special stage.