For a third year running, Rwanda’s Giancarlo Davite was unlucky again to finish the Puma Energy Zambia International Rally after retiring with a broken driveshaft with six sections to go on the final day of the race.
For starters, Davite crashed out of the Zambia races in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, his car suffered a brake failure while gearbox problems were to blame for last year’s early exit.
Davite who was on the verge of winning the rally after leading day two retired on Sunday with a broken driveshaft in SS12. He tried to return back on the road after repairing the gearbox but his vehicle could not manage and had to retire completely.
Davite had taken over the lead from Zambian Mohammed Essa on the drama packed last stage of day two of the 590km Puma Energy Zambia International Rally in Chisamba.
Davite wrestled the lead away from Essa who lost five minutes trying to figure out why his Prodrive-built Madison/Puma Subaru Impreza N12B ceased a few minutes away from the end of the 16.40km Chongera stage 11.
Essa had three stages Chartonel (24.67km), Bull (15.56km) and Waterfall (7.45km) each to be run twice to wipe out Davite’s lead or else and if the order remained unchanged even on the last day, then Davite would have gone on top of the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) by three points.
However, the retirement of Davite, helped Essa to scoop the Puma Energy Zambia International Rally to open up a 27-point lead in the eight-legged FIA African Rally Championship (ARC).
Essa increases his season tally to 52 points after his triumph, the third round of this year’s African championship after the Toyota Zimbabwe Challenge and the Sasol Rally South Africa held in March and April respectively.
The 22-year-old Essa, who started the day two minutes 39 seconds down in second position, took the laurels in the very opening stage of the day, SS12, as overnight leader Davite of Rwanda retired with his Subaru Impreza N11’s drive shaft problem.
A delighted Essa said he was pleased by winning the rally while Davite, who remains on 22 points, said crashing out was part of the rally.
The Italian-born Davite said he would be heading for the Safari Rally a charged up driver and was optimistic of increasing his points tally in the African championship.
Apart from Davite, Paul Monge (centre diff), Imran Ticklay (ball joints), Richard Robinson (mechanical), Jas Mangat (front suspension), Mohammed Salim (front suspension) and Patel (electrical) are the other driver who retired from the race.
Puma Energy Zambia International Rally results
1. Mohammed Essa 02:55:04
2. Jassy Singh +08:27
3. Jamie Whyte +15:40