Two Kenyan drivers Yogesh Patel and Anwar Pandya have pulled out of the 2008 Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally set to start in Kampala, Uganda, Friday.
The event, the second round of the African Rally Championship (ARC), zooms-off in the Ugandan capital with a huge crowd expected to turn out for the super special stage at Lubiri. The rally proper is set for Friday and Sunday.
The duo’s exit leaves the event with only Subaru’s Alfir Khan flying the Kenyan flag in the famous Ugandan round that also counts towards the second round of the newly-established KCB East Africa Rally Challenge.
Khan will be navigated by his uncle Tinu Khan in a version four Subaru Impreza.
He is one of the six drivers registered for the new Pirelli ‘Young Drivers Promotion’ whose winner will be fully sponsored to participate in six rounds of the 2009 European WRC tours next season in either the Group N or Super-2000 formulas.
A dejected Pandya broke the gearbox of his Subaru Impreza in Kampala during a test-drive that turned out chaotic.
Pandya, a regular participant at the KCB Kenya National Rally Championships, was in upbeat mood but not until he was faced with unforeseen gremlins.
“We arrived here Wednesday and while trying to perfect the car to the correct settings, we ended up bashing our gear-box,” he said.
“We didn’t have a replacement so we have no choice but to bow out. I was able to attend recce though and it was a really rough and tough ride,” he added.
Family commitments meant that Patel couldn’t honour the recce which began Wednesday for foreign drivers.
Patel was involved in a family function that made it difficult for him to honour the event’s programme.
Kenya Motor Sports Foundation (KMSF), who possess the FIA ASN (sporting power) issued permits allowing the Kenyan contingent already in Uganda.
Frank Gitau who usually navigates for Asad Anwar on the Kenyan circuit, teams up with Tanzanian Navraj Hans of Hans Racing in a Subaru Impreza. Hans is also enlisted for the Pirelli Young Drivers Promotion. Kashif Sheikh of Kenya will also navigate for Ugandan prodigy Jas Mangat.
The Kampala event will also witness a fierce battle featuring some state-of-the- art Mitsubishi Evolutions and Subaru Impreza N-series.
Ugandan speed merchant Emmanuel Katto of Emka Racing, has brought in a Subaru Impreza N14 which is the latest model of Subaru to ever grace East African terrain .
Japanese Hideaki Miyoshi is also in the Uganda capital with his Mitsubishi EVO9.