Kenyan driver Karan Patel and co-driver Tauseef Khan claimed their first ever FIA African Rally Championship titles with a scintillating podium finish in Iringa , Tanzania on November 15th.
They become the first Kenyan pair to achieve the feat in a Ford, and the marque’s second title after Zambia’s Leroy Gomes last year.
Karan finished second behind Uganda’s Jas Mangat in a well driven race strategy during the season-closing ASAS Rally of Tanzania.
Their calm and assured march to the finish 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.
Karan, who is also a Red Bull athlete, becomes the seventh Kenya driver after the trailblazing 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.
Tauseef, on the other hand, becomes the fifth Kenyan navigator champion after Mike Doughty, Surinder Thatthi, Bob Kaugi and Tim Jessop.
On their way up , Karan and Tauseef registered four wins in Rwanda, Kenya (Equator), Burundi and Zambia.
The Kenyan duo skipped Bandama Rallye and Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally and had to play catch up to lay their hands on the coveted title they lost to Zambian Gomes last season.
Karan and Tauseef arrived in Iringa, Tanzania in high spirits, winning the qualifying stage but appeared to back off in a well calculated strategy to safeguard the championship.
The Kenyan crew went into the championship finale in Tanzania this weekend with a nine points advantage over Uganda’s Mangat.
But Mangat savored his first victory of the season as well as kick-starting his Hyundai’s victories log. But he has to contend with plating second fiddle to the newly crowned champion Karan .
Youngster Hamza Anwar racked up the ARC2 category title in third overall position when his race adversary and local Charles Nyerere suffered mechanical gremlins.
–African Rally Championship 2023 —
Since its launch in 1981, the ARC has provided spectacular imagery due to the rallies taking place amid stunning landscapes.
Boosted by Kenya’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2021, the ARC continues to grow in strength and stature following two years of disruption caused by the global health pandemic. The 2023 season featured a seven-round calendar traversing seven countries..
The 2024 ARC season will resume early next year with the iconic Rallye Bandana Rally of Ivory coast.
1981 Shekhar Mehta-Kenya/Mike Doughty-Kenya (Nissan)
1982 Walter Rohrl-Germany/Christian Giestdofer-Germany (Opel)
1983 Alain Ambrosino-Ivory Coast/
Daniel Le Saux-Ivory Coast (Peugeot)
1984 David Horsey-Kenya/David Williamson-Kenya (Peugeot)
1985 Luc Requile-Rwanda/Martine Delervelle-Rwanda (Opel)
1986 Alain Ambrosin-Ivory Coast/Daniel Le Saux -Ivory Coast (Nissan)
1987 Alain Ambrosino-Ivory Coast/Daniel Le Saux -Ivory Coast (Nissan)
1988 Satwant Singh-Zambia/Luc Verhurst-Burundi (Toyota)
1989 Satwant Singh-Zambia/Surinder Thatthi -Kenya (VW)
1990 Walter Costa-Burundi/Rudi Cantanhede-Burundi (Peugeot)
1991 Satwant Singh-Zambia/John Mitchell-Zambia (Toyota)
1992 Aldo Riva-Italy/Enrico Roveda-Italy
1993 Satwant Singh -Zambia/Enrico Roveda-Italy (Toyota)
1994 Abe Smith-Zimbabwe/Les Wild -Zimbabwe (Audi)
1995 Fritz Flachberger-Namibia/Wicus Bruwer-Namibia (Ford)
1996 Satwant Singh -Zambia/Surinder Thatthi- Kenya (Subaru)
1997 Satwant Singh-Zambia/Surinder Thatthi-Kenya
1998 Satwant Singh-Zambia/Surinder Thatthi-Kenya(Subaru)
1999 Charles Muhangi -Uganda/Steve Byaruhanga -Uganda (Subaru)
2000 Satwant Singh-Zambia/Mutumbi Goma-Zambia (Subaru)
2001 Schalk Burger-South Africa/Piet SwanepoelSouth Africa
2002 John Gemmel-South Africa/Robert Paisely-South Africa (Subaru)
2003 Fernando Rueda-South Africa/Martin Botha-South Africa (Mitsubishi)
2004 Muna Singh-Zambia/David Sihoka-Zambia (Subaru)
2005 Muna Singh-Zambia/David Sihoka-Zambia (Subaru)
2006 Patrick Emontspool-Belgium/Alain Robert-Belgium (Subaru)
2007 Conrad Rautenbach-Zimbabwe/David Sihoka-Zambia (Subaru)
2008 Hideaki Miyoshi-Japan/Hakaru Ichino-Japan (Mitsubishi)
2009 James Whyte-Zimbabwe/Phil Archenoul-Zimbabwe(Subaru)
2010 James Whyte-Zimbabwe/Phil Archenoul-Zimbabwe (Subaru)
2011 Conrad Rautenbach-Zimbabwe/Nicolas Klinger -France
2012 Mohamed Essa-Zambia/Greg Stead -Zimbabwe (Subaru)
2013 Jassy Singh-Zambia/David Sihoka
2014 Gary Chaynes-Ivory Coast/Romain Comas-Ivory Coast-Mitsubishi
2015 Jaspreet Singh Chatthe Kenya
Craig Thorley-Englan (-Mitsubishi)
2016. Don Smith-Kenya/Bob Kaugi-Kenya (Subaru)
2017 Manvir Baryan+Kenya/Drew Sturrock-Britain (Škoda)
2018 Manvir Baryan-Kenya /Drew Sturrock-Britain (Škoda)
2019 Manvir Baryan-Kenya/Drew Sturrock-Britain (Škoda)
2020 Cancelled due to Covid19 Pandemic.
2021 Carl “Flash” Tundo-Kenya/Tim Jessop-Kenya (Volkswagen Polo)
2022: Leroy Gomes-Zambia/Urshlla Gomes-Zambia (Ford)
2023: Karan Patel-Kenya/Tauseef Khan-Kenya (Ford Fiesta)