Zambia’s Leroy Gomes made a big upgrade earlier this year when he changed hands from a Mitsubishi EvoX to a Ford Fiesta R5.
With his co-driver as well as his wife Urshlla Gomes, they have had a good start with the Fiesta securing two podium finishes in home events; a second position and recently a victory in the Cyber rally.
However, Leroy will be up to gauge his pace in a Fiesta against another stronger car; the Skoda Fabia R5 of Manvir Baryan when the two battle for victory in the weekend African Rally Champion round in South Africa.
“I am curious to see my pace against Manvir. I have a way to go before I can take him on.
“R5, in all honesty, can not be compared with the other Group N cars, Evos and Subaru’s, it’s such a powerful machine. That’s why I need lots of training before making an impact,” said Leroy.
Leroy, however, admits he is not fully committed to the African championship this year.
“We are planning on doing the full ARC next year after we have tested our pace and learnt the car. We shall use this year to test and learn,” he said.
“I am planning on covering Zambia and Kenya being a candidate event this year and will attract powerful drivers.”
Meanwhile, with the new points system, Leroy believes it will be one factor that increases competition among crews.
“I am aware of the new point system. It makes it interesting cause every day is a full attack from the opening day and you can’t strategize.
“I have always been a driver that has paved myself in the rallies but now I have to push from the first stage.”