Mohammed Essa yesterday maintained the lead in the Rally

Zambia First National rally -

AFRICA Rally Championship (ARC) king Mohammed Essa yesterday maintained the lead in the Puma Energy Zambia International Rally, clocking 1:59:09 hours at Chisamba’s Graham Ray Farm.
And four drivers, including two-time ARC champion Jamie Whyte of Zimbabwe yesterday retired from the 488-kilometre race after their vehicles developed mechanical faults.
Essa, who is navigated by Greag Stead of Zimbabwe in a Subaru N16 N4, was a darling of the crowd with his daredevil driving skill and is favourite to defend the Zambian leg.
The 21-year-old left the crowd enveloped in dust and some of them chocked but they went on to cheer their hero.
Essa is yet to gain a point on the ARC standings after missing the Ivory Coast rally and crashing out of the South Africa edition.
“We hope to go at the same pace tomorrow [today] and complete the race. Otherwise, we are doing fine,” said Essa after a nine-stage thriller.
In second position is Italian-born Rwandese Davite Giancarlo who clocked 2:04:55 hours in a Mitsubish Evo X while Jas Mangat of Uganda is third on a time of 2:06:06 hours.
National rally champion Jassy Singh is in fourth place after timing 2:20:20 hours.
And Whyte, Muna Singh Jr, Walter Wasamunu and Danni Beani could not finish the rally.
Whyte, who won the ARC title in 2009 and 2010, retired in stage five after his Subaru N10 developed a fault while Jassy’s Golf VW ‘parked up’ in stage nine.
For Wasamunu, his Subaru Gc8 stopped in stage three while Beani’s Subaru N12 had a drive shaft problem.
The rally enters the home stretch today with eight drivers competing for honours.