Motor rally is the highest class of continental rallying recognized by the FIA. This season the African Rally Championship (ARC) comprises seven events: Rallye Cote d’Ivoire Bandama, Rally of South Africa, Zambia International Rally, Kenya Safari Rally, Pearl Of Africa Uganda, Rally Of Tanzania and Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally. The defending champion and current championship drivers’ leader is Manvir Baryan of Kenya, the defending and leading co-driver is Drew Sturrock and the reigning manufacturers champion is Skoda.
The upcoming Zambia International Rally- Gomes Zambia International Rally 2019 (GZIR 2019) makes round three of the season and also coincides with round three of the National championship. The event is sponsored by Gomes Haulage Limited for the third year straight (the first having been the 2017 Gomes/Pembe International rally). The event takes place on the Copperbelt town of Ndola for a second year running.
This event is the 42nd edition of the competition since the inaugural event in 1969. The first two events were won by Zambia’s Mike Bond in his Datsun 1600 who was navigated by Tim Madrell. Fast-forward to the present day, the previous events have produced 18 different winners. Former ARC champion Satwant Singh has most wins (14) with Subaru claiming the most manufacturers titles (13). The defending champion of this event is the current reigning and defending ARC champion Manvir Baryan and his co-driver Drew Sturrock. The event will be organized by the Zambia Motorsport Association (ZMSA), with the Ndola Motor Club as the host club and is sanctioned by the FIA.
The event takes place from the 7th of June to the 9th of June 2019. It will have 11 stages and a total of 308.33km of which 194.40km will be special stages. Among the stages will be the spectacular Ndola Motor Club and two night stages at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Drivers to watch:
1. MANVIR BARYAN
Racing in Zambia for the 3rd straight event, he and his co-driver Drew Sturrock will be trying to make it a hat-trick driving a Skoda FAbia R5. They are also the reigning ARC champions and leaders of the current championship standings. The pair recently claimed maximum ARC points with a second placed finish in the Rally of South Africa.
2. LEROY GOMES
The hopes of the country will be on Leroy and his co-driver Urshlla Gomes from the Gomes Racing Team in Ndola. Driving on local terrain, Leroy is proving to be a crowd favorite. He currently leads the national championship with maximum championship points from the two events so far this year in his first season driving the very much talked about Ford Fiesta R5. He will be relishing another battle with Baryan after being beaten in the Rally of South Africa in April where he had to settle for a 5th placed finish overall.
3. GUY BOTTERILL
The South African champion is the S200 class will be participating in this event for the first time; though this will be his 6th event in Zambia; he has a wonderful record of two wins and a second placed finish (he did not finish the other two events though he led them both by the time of his retirements). Driving under the WildCat Racing Team, he will be another favorite to win the event with this event seeing him driving the newly built Toyota Etios R4; the car that won the Rally of South Africa in its debut race in April.
Other notable names are Former African champions Mohammed Essa and Jassy Singh, reigning Zambia national rally champion Muna Singh Jr and Zubair Essa.