The Shell Pearl of Africa Rally has ranked fifth in the just concluded 2017 FIA Africa Rally Championships (ARC).
The ‘Observer Points and Positions’ report of all the countries that hosted ARC rounds was sent out to member countries last week by Zambia’s Muna Singh, a two-time African champion and now a member of World Rally Commission in FIA representing Africa.
This is a U-turn for the Pearl Rally which scored 835.5pts this year compared to 745 last year.
Then, Richard Leeke of South Africa who was the FIA observer slammed the 2016 organisers - Federation of Motorsports Clubs in Uganda (FMU) for the poor event and proposed overhauling of the annual event.
This year, Muna, FIA observer Willie du Plessis and The FIA technical delegate Chris Birkin both from South Africa heaped praise especially on the route which was 80- 90 per cent closed.
“The route was good. The organisers have taken the right direction in that area. In the past the route was car breaker,” the Zambian told Daily Monitor in July.
The South Africa rally was ranked first (1016 points) ahead of Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Zambia in that order.
The news was a welcome relief for FMU boss Dusman Okee who said they had promised to improve after 2016 in line with recommendations by FIA observers.
“We are happy we scored highly against more financed events. Hope next year we shall improve more. We are also going to help Kenya to see that the Safari Rally gets World Rally Championship (WRC) recognition,” Okee said.
Organisers of the Kenyan Rally which was ranked sixth with 832 points, are lobbying to have it the race return to the (WRC) calendar. Rwanda’s Mountain Gorilla Rally, which 770 points came seventh.