Japanese drivers Hideaki Miyoshi and Hakaru Ichino Sunday made history when they convincingly won the Zambia International Rally and also clinched the 2008 FIA African Rally Champions title.
They became the first Japanese crew to ever win the African Rally Championships.
Driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, the pair maintained the lead during the four stages to win by only 26 seconds from Zimbabweans Jamie Whyte and Phil Archenoul in a Subaru Impreza.
Jon Williams and Pierre Arries of South Africa held onto their lead in the Pirelli Star Driver promotion and the charging Peter Horsey from Kenya was stopped with a broken lower control arm in an SS16.
Second in the Pirelli series was Alfir Khan from Kenya.
Jon Williams became the first winner of the new Pirelli Rally Star promotion in Africa and will win a drive in 6 European WRC rounds in a Group N or S2000 car provided by the FIA & Pirelli in 2009.
Williams will also go through a training programme of driving, presentation and public speaking which the FIA would like to promote amongst the young driver championships.
Third overall and the surprise of the rally was 19-year-old Mohammed Essa and Ajit Naik from Zambia, who pulled through the ranks to hold third overall position ahead of Richard Robinson and Colin Schreiber from Zimbabwe.
‘Rally Chicks’ Lola and Megan Verlaque had a late charge to clinch 5th overall.
Leading retirements were title contenders Muna Singh and David Sihoka with gearbox failure, Craig Green and Mike Exton of Zimbabwe in their Mitsubishi.
The rally was staged in the oustskirts of the Zambian capital, Lusaka, around Chisamba area in the north of the city and the eastern flanks, around the airport.
The Provisional Results:
1. Hideaki Miyoshi/Hakaru Ichino Mitsubishi Evo 9 (Jap) 2:46:00
2. Jamie Whyte/Phil Archenoul Subaru Impreza (Zim) 2:46:26
3. Mohammed Essa/Ajit Naik Subaru Impreza (Zam) 2:49:26
4. Richard Robinson/Colin Schreiber Mitsubishi Evo 8 (Zim) 2:50:46
5. Lola Verlaque/Megan Verlaque Mitsubishi Evo 9 (S.Africa) 2:53:18
6. Jon Williams/Pierre Arries VW Polo S2000 (S.Africa) 2:54:00
7. Alfir Khan/Tinu Khan Subaru Impreza (Ken) 2:56:13
8. Peter Horsey/Tim Challen Mitsubishi Evo 8 (Ken) 3:13:24
9. Ashish Patel/Mark Terken Subaru Impreza (Zam) 3:21:17
10. Kenny Mukosa/Max Malauni Subaru Impreza (Zam) 3:51:36