Anarivelo Jean Yves and Ranaivamampianini are the Kobil Rally of Tanzania champions after winning the sixth round of the 2011 African Rally Championship in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The Subaru Impreza drivers become the first-ever set of competitors from Madagascar to win a round of FIA-sanctioned series in the African Continent since making their debut in the competition at the beginning of last season.
“I am over excited and very happy to win my first-ever ARC rally. Rally was good and our car was also good with no major mechanical problem. But it was scary at times to find motor bikes on the roads at speeds of 190kph,’’ said Ranaivamampianini.
His victory in one of the most famous rounds of the ARC series overshadowed the anticipated battle between Zimbabwe’s Jamie Whyte and his compatriot Conrad Rautenbach, whose interest in the chase for ARC title was the focal point of the competition.
Despite finishing fourth overall in at the wheels of a hired-Subaru Impreza N14, Rautenbach still maintains the lead of the overall standings of the FIA-sanctioned series with Rwanda and Madagascar yet to host their events.
“Constant overheating problems which were caused by the influx of sand that was finding its way into the radiator was a major cause of us slowing down. Mechanics changed the radiator on three different occasions, but we were never able to stop the sand from being scooped from underneath the engine due to the shape of the car,’’ said Rautenbach.
Whyte’s second overall place in Dar-es-salaam has helped him clip six points off Rautencbach’s tally at the top of the table. He is out to register a hat-trick of championship-winning streak following his wins in 2009 and 2010.
“Being the first car on the road did not help us on the second day. It was just crazy and at times extremely dangerous to find big trucks on either sides of the road at those high speeds. Amazingly we were still able to set superior stage times to finish second overall,’’ said Archenoul.
The Subaru Impreza of Zambian Mohamed Essa cruised into third place in his probably last ARC rally this year.
“I am very happy with the third place. This is the end of my contest for the 2011 ARC series but may look at South Africa for one off events. The Zambian championship is still very young and has no strong opposition,’’ said Essa.
Rwanda’s Velary Bukera scored his best result in Tanzania by taking up the fifth place in the rally dominated with Subaru brand models.
“I am excited and now looking forward to our rally in Rwanda next. The car behaved well,’’ said Bukera.
Patrice Comtois and Carl Voltaire were the best-placed home drivers following their fifth-place finish at the wheel of yet another Subaru Impreza.
The only brother and sister crew of Zambia’s Jassy and Jasmeen Singh were forced out on the final day with transmission failure.
Aged 18, Jassy and Jasmeen are children of former African Champion, Muna Singh. They were considered to be among the youngest crews to be participating in the Kobil Rally of Tanzania.
“We had all the troubles today with our car. First we broke the rear shock in the first stage before we broke both the arm and bolt joints in the later stage’’.
Asked how his sister would be of help in such cases, with a cheeky smile on his face, Jassy said “it is always a handicap but I am sure she is will be able to carry out a tyre or jack up the car.”
The Nissan 206Z of Arusha’s Jayant Shah and Ravi Chana was the best-placed two-wheel-drive machine in the 11th place out of the 14 finishers.