By Robert Nkolo [Rob Styles]
Jinja rally is happening this weekend. After one calendar season absence. Jas Singh Mangat the defending champion of the last series in 2018 will continue his sabbatical due to business commitments meaning he will not defend his event title. Hapasport could not reach Team Pilipili for comments.
While the battle for outright victory on round two of the Uganda National Rally Championship NRC is set to light up Jinja on IUEA Jinja rally this weekend, With a huge number of competitors, 2020 IUEA Jinja Rally will rock with 48 cars on the entry list, below are some of the top guns that will light up IUEA Jinja Rally this weekend.
TOP GUNS IN JINJA RALLY
1 – Rajiv Ruparelia RR team
Can Rajiv Ruparelia pull it back in jinja after a disappointing Mbarara rally? Well…, Rajiv left a talking point behind after Mbarara rally among fans and could be the same statements in the previous events.
The VW Polo driver looks like he’s the new pacesetter in Ugandan rallying after Jas Mangat. This was seen from the two previous NRC events, one being the last event in 2019 and the just concluded Mbarara rally where he dropped out leading both in day one and day two.
“The times posted by the Rookie driver are so amazing, I really compare Ruparelia to the late Riyaz Kurji. Rajiv has the skill, a good car, and the budget still with a big heart of rallying, said rally driver Ponsiano Lwakataka. It’s rare a rookie driver to put up such performance and it was Riyaz Kurji who last did that in his early rallying years RIP. He just needs to polish his finishing style and will be great”, added Ponsiano Lwakataka
2 – Duncan Mubirui “kikankane”
The 2020 Mbarara rally winner driver last appeared Jinja in 2017 and couldn’t see the last FF after retiring prematurely yet 2018 didn’t submit his entry due to business schedules. Can Duncan execute Jinja mission to extend his championship lead after a win from Mbarara?
3 – Yassin Nasser Moil Rally Team
The 2019 NRC champion will open his NRC account from jinja after missing the season opener in Mbarara. Being committed to East African Rally championship EARC, Moil rally team crew decided to skip the first round and took on Guru Nanak rally in Kenya which was the first round of EARC.
“Our target is to finish in Jinja if the podium comes that will be an advantage for the team”, Nasser told Hapasport. We call for maximum safety among our fans since it’s going to be a fast rally, safety starts with you a good rally is a safe rally so we appeal to everyone to practice safety, Nasser asserted.
4 – Arthur Blick Jr
After coming close to winning the 2019 championship, The Shell sponsored driver is set to kickstart his 2020 NRC campaign with Jinja Rally. Arthur Blick Jr missed the season opener due to delays in car parts logistics. Mitsubishi Lancer Evo x driver promised a blasting 2020 and its time to open his account in Jinja, can he carry the day?
5 – Ponsiano Lwakataka
Even by now, the Subaru N12B driver has not believed he lost Mbarara rally. Ponsiano broke the shaft in the very last stage when leading the rally by 3 minutes off Duncan Mubiru, but blames it on lucking safety in the stage where he logged in a complaint that he was blocked by a silver Toyota Harrier in the process of steer clear, hit a rock and broke his shaft. Can he fight back in Jinja?
Among other top guns to battle in jinja are Hassan Alwi, Omar Mayanja, Ronald Ssebuguzi, Abdul Kateete, Adam Essa Rauf, Babis Fitidis among others.
Meanwhile, the event Manager of IUEA EMC Jinja rally Jared Karera has confirmed to Hapasport that the super special stage has been shifted from Kakindu stadium to Hared Jym just along agricultural showgrounds and the official bulletin will be out soon.