Kenya’s Karan Patel earns high praise from Ugandan rival after Pearl of Africa Rally win

Karan Patel during the Pearl of Africa Rally in Jinja, Uganda.

Kenya’s Karan Patel earns high praise from Ugandan rival after Pearl of Africa Rally win

Joel Omotto 13:30 - 13.05.2024

Kenyan driver Karan Patel has been lauded by his Ugandan rival driver Jas Mangat for showing great quality as he claimed his maiden Pearl of Africa Rally win in Jinja last weekend.

Uganda’s leading driver Jas Mangat was full of praise for his Kenyan rival Karan Patel who registered his maiden Pearl of Africa Rally win in Jinja at the weekend.

Mangat, who settled for second behind the wheel of a Hyundai i20 Rally2, candidly admitted after the season-opener that Patel is still faster on his Skoda Fabia R5.

Nevertheless, the Ugandan averred that it’s just a matter of time before he perfects his driving lines in the six-leg FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) season which will traverse Zambia in July, Tanzania in August, Rwanda, Kenya (Equator Rally) and Burundi.

“The Pearl sets the pace for a good season, I mean, it shows that Karan (Patel) is still a bit quicker than us and there is no doubt about that, so we need to try to find some pace somewhere,” Mangat said in Jinja.

“My partner (Laurent Magat) was a new navigator and temporary just for this event, so there are a lot of adjustments and it took a few kilometers to get into the swing, we will have to see what to do as the ARC season progresses.”

Defending Africa champion Patel got his mitts on his 10th career FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) win behind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia R5 to clinch an early lead in the continental series.

Patel won eight out of the possible nine stages to end the iconic Ugandan fixture by over a minute ahead of local Mangat. Following the cancellation of SS1 Macarena test on Saturday morning, Mangat set the pace by clinching the preceding SS2 Tadooba stage.

Patel, however, bounced back to win the rest of the stages through to the last flying finish at SS11 Sura Maya speed test whose third run served as the event’s Power Stage. Power stages are being introduced in the ARC for the first time this season.

“We had a bit of a battle with Karan on Saturday morning, and then in the afternoon we lost a lot of time with dust, so it set us back. We corrected our time which was fine, and Karan had a good lead on Sunday morning and in the first stage we had issues with brakes and after that the gap was too big,” added Mangat.

“It was not that stressful to try to catch up with Karan. I mean, it is what it is, in rallying sometimes it’s your day, not your day, but we put in a good effort so we are pretty amazed with the podium.”

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