Kenyan duo Karan Patel and his co-driver Tauseef Khan protected their championship lead to claim the overall ARC Rally title following a podium finish in the season finale in Tanzania
Kenya’s Karan Patel and his co-driver Tauseef Khan were crowned FIA African Rally Championship winners following a podium finish in Iringa, Tanzania on Sunfay.
Patel and Khan become the first Kenyan pair to achieve the feat in a Ford after Zambia's Leroy Gomes claimed last year’s diadem.
Petel finished second behind Uganda's Jas Mangat in a well-driven race strategy during the season-closing ASAS Rally of Tanzania.
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The pair’s calm and assured march to the podium at Sao Hill Mafinga in Iringa belied the excitement that was bubbling underneath and it exploded into a solid stream of joy at prize giving.
Patel, who is also a Red Bull athlete, becomes the seventh Kenyan driver to claim the title after Shekhar Mehta in 1981, David Horsey in 1984, Jaspreet Singh Chatthe in 2015, Don Smith in 2016, Manvir Baryan thrice 2017 and 2019 and Carl Tundo in 2021.
Khan, meanwhile, becomes the sixth Kenyan navigator champion after Dave Williamson, Mike Doughty, Surinder Thatthi, Bob Kaugi and Tim Jessop.
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The Kenyan duo registered wins in Rwanda, Kenya (Equator), Burundi and Zambia en route to the title, having skipped Bandama Rallye and Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally. They had to play catch up to lay their hands on the crown.
Patel and Khan arrived in Iringa in high spirits, winning the qualifying stage but appeared to back off in a well-calculated strategy to safeguard the championship after going into championship finale with a nine-point lead over Mangat.
With Mangat claiming his first victory of the season, the Kenyan crew had to finish on the podium to tighten their grip on the championship.
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FIA AFRICAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL STANDINGS
1. Karan Patel (KEN) 144 points
2. Jas Mangat (UG) 141 points
3. Yasin Nasser (UG) 110 points
4. Hamza Anwar (KEN) 63 points
5. Prince Charles Nyerere (TZ) 55 points
5. Innocent Bwamiki (UG) 55 points