NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – Kenya’s Manvir Baryan and his British partner Drew Sturrock hope to kill two birds with one stone when the 67th Safari Rally revs-off at Kasarani Stadium Friday.
Manvir will be seeking to widen his lead further against Zambian Leroy Gomes in the FIA Africa Rally Championship (ARC) and indeed try to join the roll of honor for past Safari winners.
The reigning two-times African Champion has yet to lay his hands on the coveted Safari Rally title despite reigning supreme on the ARC front over the last two years.
“Safari is the only event in the ARC calendar that I have not won. I will be looking to attack sensibly this weekend given the mammoth distance of over 700km. The plan is to widen the gap. Reccee is now done and dusted, the route looks good,” said Baryan.
Last month, Manvir in a Skoda Fabia R5 secured a third successive win on Zambia International Rally last month when he bagged 50 maximum points to go 70 points clear ahead of the fourth round of the continental series which traverses Kenya this weekend.
Zambia’s Leroy Gomes and his wife Urshlla are equally on a mission to perform well on the Safari and indeed close the gap between him and Manvir.
The racing couple had their Ford Fiesta R5 scrutineered at Kasarani yesterday and were bubbling with confidence upon return from reconnaissance.
“Safari has always been an amazing experience every time we have visited Kenya. From what I have witnessed in recce the routes are a lot different from what we encounter back. We will be fighting to improve our standing on the ARC points so we will be watching Manvir closely,” Leroy Gomes told Kawowo Sports.
Gomes romped home 4th in South Africa and second coupled in last month’s Zambia Rally in his Ndola hometown where they were one minute and fifty seconds behind overall winner Baryan.
Baryan won the season opening Bandama Rallye of Ivory Coast and the Gomes Zambia International Rally.
In Ndola, Gomes secured 36 points to go second on the ARC leaderboard with 66 points from two events.
Kenya’s Onkar Rai made the best of his first outing to Zambia taking his Skoda to a third-place finish.
The 2019 ARC season started in February and will reach its conclusion in October, after visiting the Ivory Coast, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
With eight titles to his name, Zambia’s Satwant Singh is the most decorated African driver in the series’ history, while reigning champion Manvir Baryan from Kenya has won back-to-back titles since 2017.
The 2019 ARC is counting towards FIA African Rally Championship for Drivers and Co-Drivers, FIA ARC Manufacturers Cup and FIA ARC Cup for Drivers and Co-Drivers using 2WD and normally aspirated cars of maximum 1600cc.