The 2017 Africa Rally Championship (ARC) title race will move to Rwanda next month as the Mountain Gorilla Rally kicks off from September 8-10. The Rwanda leg is the sixth round on the seven-race continental motorsport calendar.
The unpredictable Rwandan competition is expected to attract some of the top local, regional and continental drivers. For the local drivers, it will be time to look for points in pursuit of the national championship.
Jean Claude Gakwaya and navigator Jean Claude Mugabe in their Subura Impreza will be eyeing to win the home race. Gakwaya raced in the Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally that run from June 30 to July 2 but was among the casualties before the final day.
On the other hand, for the local rally fans, it will be an exciting moment to see the likes of Giancarlo Davite racing in Rwanda after a year on suspension.
Kenya's Manvir Baryan, fresh from winning his second consecutive round of the 2017 African Rally Championship event in Tanzania last weekend and his earlier triumph in Uganda will also be part of the race.
The youngster will be in the limelight as he vies for his first ARC title to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Jaspreet Singh Chatthe, who won it in 2015 and the reigning champion Don Smith.
A top-two finish in Kigali will ensure that the Skoda Fabia driver wins the title regardless of the result of his closest rival Leroy Gomes of Zambia.
A poor show in Rwanda means that Baryan will be forced to tackle the last event in Zambia to try and secure the prestigious title in the Zambia International Rally slated for October 20-22. Provisionally, Baryan leads the table with 65 points, 12 ahead of second-placed Gomes.
ARC driver's standings
Manvir Baryan (Ken) 65 points
Leroy Gomes (Zam) 53 points
Kleevan Gomes (Zam) 38 points
Christakis Fitidis (Uga) 36 points
Jaspreet Chatthe (Ken) 28 points