Drivers nod for ARC routes
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AS route reconnaissance exercise winds up today ahead of Oryx Rally’s flag off, drivers have lauded the choice of the area labelling it tailor made for continental-class event.

The fifth round of this year’s African Rally Championship (ARC), Oryx Rally of Tanzania will be officially flagged off tomorrow at the Southern Sun Hotel by the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe.

The two-day event will see much of its actions in Coast region’s dusty roads passing in Bago, Msata, Lugoba and Ubena Sisal State.

“The choice of the roads is flawless as it meets all safety of our cars and spectators,” said Dharam Pandya, one of the local favourites. Pandya, who will be navigated by Awadh Bafadhil in ultramodern Subaru Sti NR4, said after spectators would enjoy watching the drivers in dare-devil actions, but warned them to stand far away from the road in competitive sections.

Also noted the beauty in this year’s route was Sameer Nahdi Shanto from Morogoro, who called it perfect for the skilled drivers only.

“With the type of machine, I think the organisers have picked it especially for me,” claimed Shanto who is coming back to the continental rally scene for the first time after a decade in semi retirement. Going for its podium start tomorrow, this year’s Oryx Rally is likely to see some changes at the podium.

The presence of the three ultra-modern rally cars, all of them making maiden entry into the race, threatens long reign Subaru and Mitsubishi Evos, the car makes that dominated the continental rally scene for over a decade.

All three manned by skilled hands; Manvir Baryan’s Skoda Fabia, Ford Fiesta Proto of Ahmed Huwel and Dharam Pandya’s Subaru Sti NR 4, all cars eligible for World Rally Championship (WRC1) are expected to spice up wheeling challenge this time around, according to motorsports enthusiasts.

The cars, according to the list of drivers released over the motorsports governing body (AAT) are competing for the first time in this year’s Tanzanian round of the African Rally Championship (ARC).

The event’s defending champion, Randeep Birdi is part of the dominant Mitsubishi team doesn’t see any threat from the new cars as he believes only good driving maters in the rally.

He said won the last year event in bit old Mitsubishi Evo 7 in a race and beat the then latest cars such as Mitsubishi Evo 10 and Subaru N14. “Only driving skills matter here,” he told the ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam on yesterday.

Pandya also warned his rivals that he has the perfect winning machine this time. “People should expect wonders from Subaru Impreza Sti, NR4. It’s the only one of a kind in Africa Rally scene..! this car is eligible for WRC1 international rallying... it is prepared in UK-based - firm, JR Motorsports,” he said.

Iringa’s Ahmed Huwel will parade his driving skills in American Ford Fiesta Proto while Kenyan Manvir Baryan will enter Skoda Fabia, a supermini car produced by Czech manufacturer Skoda Auto.

Oryx Rally of Tanzania is a 600km rally that pits local drivers against the continental class drivers. The rally serves as the fifth round of the African Rally Championship (ARC) series, with major actions to be held Bagamoyo, Msata, Lugoba and Ubena, about 120 kilometres west of the commercial capital, Dar see Salaam.

The rally will start with the ceremonial start on Friday, August 4 before the main event on Saturday, August 5 with cars starting from Bagamoyo enroute to Bago flying start to end at Lugoba. The second stage according the itinerary will start at Ubena Estate and climax at Lugoba again.

The two routes will be used twice for the Saturday showdown, according to Birdi. There are 15 Tanzanians in the list of 25 drivers listed for the Oryx Rally’s speed show.

The foreign crews come from Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda and Scotland. Kenyan crews; Manvir Baryan and his Scottish navigator, Drew Sturrock will be the first off ramp in ultramodern car Scoda Fabia.

Next off ramp will be a Ugandan Christiakis Fitidis who will be navigated by Rwandan co-driver, Eric Nzamwita in Mitsubishi Evo 10. All Tanzanian top drivers are competing for this year’s rally including Randeep Birdi who won the last year’s event

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