The Zambian husband and wife crew of Leroy and Urshlla Gomes will be looking to conquer the demanding Kenyan terrain when the second round of the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) gets underway in Naivasha this weekend.
The Zambian couple are aiming to finish the Kenyan leg of the continental series on a high after clinching the season-opening Rallye Bandama of Ivory Coast last month.
The Gomes have never won a rally on Kenyan soil but will be looking to break the duck in their Ford Fiesta-Rally 2 machine. They will also be aiming to become the first husband and wife crew to do so in the event.
In an interview Leroy, one of the fastest drivers in Africa at the present, said: “It’s always challenging racing in Kenya, both for the drivers and navigator as well as the car. We would like to finish it and keep carrying ARC points.”
“It’s never been an easy rally for any foreigner to come and win. Kenya has amazing drivers. This year is a little strange because a lot of the great names and drivers are missing from the event. But Karan Patel, who is currently leading the Kenyan Championship, is an amazing driver and he is definitely favorite to win this event. We would be honored to just be on podium”
Leroy added that he will take the event as it comes. He went on: “We will only truly know how to approach the rally once we see the stages. Rally routes change over the years and we also need to understand what the weather might do. Our approach will be determined after our recce.”
“We just need to make sure that we are able to keep among the top drivers in this event and not fall to far back” he said.
For the second year running, the ARC Equator Rally will serve as a dry run for the WRC Safari Rally which is slated for June.
Foreign drivers enlisted for the Kenyan leg include Amaanraj Rai of Uganda and Rwanda’s Giancarlo Davide. Amaanraj will be co-driven by Kisumu-based Gurdeep “Gugu” Panesar, while Davite will be in the company of Sylvia Videvogel
The FIA African Rally Championship (the equivalent of AFCON in football) was run for the first time in 1981.
The series features an all-gravel calendar with events taking place against a backdrop of stunning landscapes across the continent’s Sub-Saharan region.
The series will count towards the FIA ARC for Drivers and Co-Drivers in a car from any group.
It will also count towards the FIA ARC2 for Drivers and Co-Drivers in Group NR4 cars, the FIA ARC3 for Drivers and Co-Drivers in Rally3 cars, FIA ARC4 for Drivers and Co-Drivers in Rally 4 and Rally5 cars and indeed the FIA ARC Junior for Drivers 28 and under on January 1, 2022, entered in a car from any group.
The 2022 season comes with a number of new technical rules. Only the fastest five drivers from the Qualifying Stage – rather than the previous 15 –will take part in the selection of starting positions for the opening leg of an event.
ARC STANDINGS AFTER RD1 -RALLYE BANDAMA-CIV
1.LEROY GOMES 30
URSHLLA GOMES 30
2022 FIA ARC /KNRC EQUATOR RALLY (2ND – 3RD APRIL 2022)
ENTRY LIST ( FIA Approved)
1 (#200) Leroy Gomes/Urshlla Gomes ZAM–ZAM (Ford Fiesta -Rally2)
2 (#3) Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan KEN –KEN (Ford Fiesta-Rally2)
3 (#140) Jeremy Wahome/Victor Okundi KEN –KEN (Ford Fiesta -Rally3 )
4 (#9)Ian Duncan/Tej Sehmi KEN–KEN (Nissan 240RS)
5 (#6) Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana KEN –KEN (Mitsubishi Evolution 10)
6 (#18) Issa Amwari/Job Njiru KEN–KEN (Mitsubishi EVO 10)
7 (#202) Amaanraj Rai/Gurdeep Panesar UG –KEN (Skoda Fabia)
8 (#201) Giancarlo Davite/Sylvia Vindevogel RWA–BRD (EVO 10)
9 (#20) Maxine Wahome/TBA KEN–TBA (Subaru Impreza -NR4)
10 (#16)Raaji Bharij/Jasneil Ghataure KEN–KEN (Ford Escort MK1)
11 (#540) Rio Smith/Riyaz Ismail KEN–KEN (Ford Fiesta RC2)
12 (#19)Nikhil Sachania/Deep Patel KEN–KEN (EVO 10)
13 (#5) Aakif Virani /Azhar Bhatti KEN –KEN (Skoda Fabia -Rally2)
14 (#21) Paras Pandya/Falgun Bhojak KEN –KEN (EVO 10)
15 (#8) Mcrae Kimathi/Mwangi Kioni KEN –KEN (Ford Fiesta -Rally3 )
16 (#23) Steve Mwangi/Dennis Mwenda KEN –KEN (Subaru)
17 (#47) Izhar Mirza/Kavit Dave KEN–KEN Mitsubishi EVO 10)
18 (#22) Kush Patel/Mudasar Chaudry KEN –KEN (Subaru)
19 (#32) Edward Maina/Anthony Gichohi KEN –KEN (Subaru)
20 (#45) Zameer Verjee/Zahir Shah KEN –KEN (Subaru -NR4)
21 (#44) Leo Varese/Kigondu Kareithi KEN –KEN (Toyota Auris -2WD)
22 (#12) Hamza Anwar/Adnan Din KEN–KEN (EVO 10)
23 (#25) Evans Kavisi /Absalom Aswani KEN –KEN (EVO 10)
FRIDAY 1ST APRIL-12:00-14:00: FREE PRACTICE/14:33-QUALIFYING STAGE (5.4KM)/15:30-SHAKEDOWN
SATURDAY 2ND APRIL-LEG 1-SOYSAMBU 1&2/ELEMTEITA 1&2/SLEEPING WARRIOR 1&2/SERVICE KWS NAIVASHA (COMPETITIVE -134.90KM)
SUNDAY 3RD APRIL-LEG 3-LOLDIA 1/KEDONG 1 /SERVICE KWS NAIVASHA (COMPETITIVE -50.52KM)
SHAKEDOWN-ONLY PRE-REGISTERED, NON-ARC CARS
FREE PRACTICE/QUALIFYING: -ARC CARS ONLY