THE 2013 Africa Rally Championship calendar is out with the KCB Mt. Gorilla rally scheduled for September 20-22.
The Mt. Gorilla Rally, which was held midway September this year, comes back in the seventh round which usually doesn't count much on the title contention.
The Rally de Bandama of Ivory Coast is back on the calendar as the opening round but the only event in West Africa never attracts competitors from East, Central and Southern Africa due to logistical challenges.
Zimbabwe pulled out of the 2013 championship citing financial constraints and promised to return in 2014.
The title contender may again be decided after the first five rounds which will transcend through Côte d'Ivoire, South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.
The outcome of the contest in these rounds will decide on the participation of title contenders in both the Pearl Rally, Mt. Gorilla Rally and the Madagascar International Rally which are lowly ranked and mostly skipped because the winner is usually decided in the early rounds.
Rwandan contender Giancarlo Davite will have to equip himself with enough resources and luck and compete in the opening rounds in order to better his chances of winning next year's continental silverware.
This year's Mt. Gorilla Rally lived up to its billing as one of the better run events in the FIA African Rally Championship series calendar, thanks to a dedicated team of young organisers.
This particular edition went down in the folklore as one of the most successful events. It treated spectators to some exhilarating displays. It was encouraging to see picturesque "fast and twisty" stages running up and down the mountains.
Elefter Mitraros and his partner Paolo Paganin, in a Subaru Impreza, was the winner with a cumulative time of 3.55.14 hours, followed by Olivier Costa and Didier Duguese in a similar make on 4.08.80 hours.
22-year-old Mohammed Essa from Lusaka, Zambia, and his co-driver Greg Stead, won the 2012 FIA African Rally Championship, while his closest Rwandan contender, Giancarlo Davite and Sylvia Vindevogel, finished second for a second year running.