Karan Patel quickest in qualifying at 2022 ARC Equator Rally.

Karan Patel was quickest in Friday afternoon’s Equator Rally Kenya qualifying stage as drivers savored their first opportunity to sample the classic WRC Safari Rally roads at blistering pace in Loldia.The Kenya National Rally Championship leader beat Uganda’s Amaanraj Rai by 12.9 seconds through the 5.4-kilometre Loldia speed test which overlooks Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley.

Karan later chose to start third on the road behind sweeper Jasmeet Chana and Junior WRC driver McRae Kimathi.Zambian Leroy Gomes and his wife Urshlla came home third but chose to start fifth behind the event’s speedsters.

The stage which is representative of the energy-sapping Kenyan terrain saw top crews run Free Practice twice before heading to the qualifying stage.

Only the fastest five drivers from the Qualifying Stage – rather than the previous 15 – are allowed to take part in the selection of starting positions.Non-Africa Rally Championship drivers also used the 3pm Shakedown at Loldia to warm up their engines prior to subsequent Ceremonial Start which was presided over by Sport Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed at Naivasha’s KWS Institute. Karan was all smiles after a stellar run.“So far it’s been good. We ran fastest through the Qualifying Stage and chose to start third. We are overly excited.

“The stages are new, another Equator Rally, so hopefully there is a good chance to win this event,” he said.“We are a bit upset that we don’t have Boldy (Baldev Chager) and Carl (Tundo) here. We really wish they were here. So far the rally has just started, still early days, it’s like a mini Safari.

The weather so far is dry. We enjoy driving in dry conditions.”Amaanraj on his part said: “It was a good start. We have not rallied for four months. So, it was a good way to shake off the rust.

Tomorrow is the main one. “We just wanted to make a position and see how tomorrow goes. This is just a teaser, so we chose to start fourth on the road after the Qualifying Stage.”Zambian Champion Leroy Gomes finished third and preferred to start fifth on the road tomorrow. Commenting on the grueling Kenyan experience, Gomes said: “Back home we are used to smoother and faster stages.

But here in Kenya it’s a mix of everything. When I was in Ivory Coast I was talking of how tough the West African fixture is; and I forgot what Kenya was all about. Kenya is definitely the toughest place to rally. So we might lose a lot of time in the rough because we are not confident in such rough and tough conditions. “I’m doing the whole season of ARC and after winning in Ivory Coast, the essence for every rally is to get to the end. You have to try and manage a race.


1. Jasmeet Chana (Kenya)

2. McRae Kimathi (Kenya)

3. Karan Patel (Kenya)

4. Amaanraj Rai (Uganda)

5. Leroy Gomes (Zambia)


1. Karan Patel 4.23.02.

Amaanraj Rai (UG)4.35.93. Leroy Gomes (ZAM) 4.40.64. McRae Kimathi 4.58.05. Jasmeet Chana 4.58.06. Aakif Virani 5.02.17. Jeremy Wahome 5.03.18. Giancarlo Davite (RWA) 5.06.19. Paras Pandya 5.12.910. Ian Duncan 5.13.1

MG Team

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