The Kenyan Team Kibos, using a Mitsubishi EvolutionX R4 rally car developed and run by UK-based MML Sports, has won the Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally and with it, the 2015 FIA African Rally Championship title.
The team has had such a dominant season that driver Jassi Chatthe and co-driver Craig Thorley are uncatchable despite one event in the series remaining.
This weekend’s Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally was something of a nemesis for Chatthe, the Kenyan having failed to finish the event in the previous three years. However, building on his confidence in the MML Sports-prepared car and the new-for-2015 pace note system he had developed with Thorley, the pair were on top form in Uganda, leading the event from start to finish.
However, they were assured the 2015 title when their only championship rival (albeit with a numerical chance of taking the title), Zambian Jassy Singh rolled out of the event on the seventh stage.
The result means that they are now uncatchable and will be crowned 2015 FIA African Rally Champions at the end of the season.
The result makes Chatthe the third Kenyan to win the ARC title and the first in more than 30 years.
Commenting at the end of the event, Chatthe said; “Finally the jinx is over. It is a sweet victory winning the event and Africa title at the same time.”
MML Sports Managing Director, John Easton, said; “I am delighted to offer my congratulations to Team Kibos, Jassi and of course, Craig, on their achievement. To dominate the season as they have done means they deserve the 2015 African Rally Championship title and I am proud that we were an integral part of that process.
“We knew from last year that the car was both on the pace and reliable, particularly in R4 specification, which many people felt wasn’t up to the task. We also worked with Jassi on his driving with former British champion Mark Higgins and helped him develop a better pace note system with Craig and the results were plain to see to all involved.
“The team’s dominance and clinching the title with one event still to run might make it seem like an easy prospect but it isn’t by any means. These are multi-day events run on very tricky and difficult surfaces, which make it a tough challenge.
“However, we didn’t suffer a single mechanical issue during the season and with the exception of Jassi’s accident, just fuelled the car and changed tyres during each rally.
“Any FIA Regional Rally Championship is a very serious proposition which makes this win all the more special.”
Both Team Kibos and MML Sports have one more target in their sights for this season, which they hope to achieve this coming weekend; it currently leads the Kenyan national Rally Championship and can add that title to the ARC one this weekend should Chatthe finish in the top eight positions, with yet another measured drive.