RWANDAN national rally champion Davite Giancarlo and his navigator Sylvia Vindevogel are already in Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire, for this weekend's 39th Rally Cote d'Ivoire Bandama.
The pair in their rented Mistubitshi Evo 10 will be involved in reccing on Wednesday and Thursday before the rally officially starts on Friday with the Super Special Stage.
Davite is eager to accumulate maximum points from the first round of the Africa Rally Championship before shifting focus to the East and Southern Africa races as he bids to win his first continental title after settling for second in the last two years.
The race will take place in two stages of 441 km with eight competitive sectors of 228km and 213km.
The Super Special Stage will be held on Friday; then drivers will cover 317.76km including 159km of special Saturday and the second with 111km of special Sunday.
The Rwandan pair will compete against Ivorians Garcia Soumaoro, Jaber Rousseau, Gary Chaynes, Ligonnet Kevin, Pulveric Gilles, Fanes Bakary, Molinie Marc, Bottari Cyril, Brossier Pascal, Pages Eric, Jacquelin Luc, Maxime Abondio, William Farhat, Artault Pierrick, Nobou Frederic and Fane Abdoulaye.
The Rally de Bandama of Ivory Coast is back on the calendar after ten years as the opening round but the only event in West Africa hardly attracts competitors from East, Central and Southern Africa due to logistical challenges.
The title 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 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.
Last year, Davite and Vindevogel finished second for a second year running behind Zambia's Mohammed Essa in the FIA African Rally Championship.