No retreat, no surrender: Patel vows to maintain pressure on FIA leader Gomes

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 – Kenyan rally driver Karan Patel has vowed to keep pushing leader Leroy Gomes in the race for this year’s FIA African Rally Championship title.

The Zambian could seal a maiden continental title over the weekend provided he accumulates a maximum 30 points at the Africa Rally Championships (ARC) Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally.

Patel is, however, unperturbed, holding on to hope of a miracle in his favour.

“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,” Patel said.

After Rwanda, action moves down south to Zambia for the ultimate leg of the championships.

Patel says he is pumped up for the remaining two legs despite Gomes looking to potentially benefit from home advantage.

“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. It is the second time here (in Rwanda) and we are overly excited, ” he said.

Patel will be navigated by Tauseef Khan who is equally thrilled to return to Rwanda and is hopeful of a plentiful harvest.

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No retreat, no surrender: Patel vows to maintain pressure on FIA leader Gomes
Mechanics from Zambia putting final preparations to Leroy Gomes Ford Fiesta Rally 2 at Kigali Convention Center. PHOTO/COURTESY

“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,” Khan said.

He further predicted a technical race that will require the wittiest of minds to survive.

“For us, we like the 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,” he said.

Both drivers will be behind the wheels of a state-of-the-art Ford Fiesta Rally 2.

Gomes, navigated by his wife, Urshla, savours a 27-point advantage over Patel, having clinched the opening leg of the ARC series at the Rallye Bandama in Ivory Coast as well as  Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally.

The other legs of this year’s championships have been held in Ivory Coast (Bandama), Kenya (Equator), Tanzania and Uganda (Pearl).

FIA AFRICAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

  1. Leroy Gomes  (ZMB) 102pts
  2. Karan Patel (KEN) 75pts
  3. Giancarlo Davite (RWA) 38pts
  4. Jeremy Wahome (KEN) 38pts
  5. Hamza Anwar (KEN) 34pts
  6. 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
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