By: Ssemyalo Ibrahim
We look at the talking points in the concluded NRC season opener Mbarara Rally; Mechanical failures and a minor crash made Mbarara Rally an interesting start to the 2020 NRC Uganda season.
Not forgetting the fans oooh my God, Never a dull moment at any Ugandan Rally event always supper charged atmosphere from rally fans.
The Rukaari Lake Mburo Mbarara Rally 2020 as the first event on the Uganda National Rally Championship calendar took place from 14th Feb to 16th Feb 2020 in Mbarara 270 KM’s west of capital Kampala.
The 3 days’ event started with Scrutineering on Friday 14th at Shell Mbarara with an entry list of over 33 drivers where only 27 cars made it to the start line. Other top drivers like Jas Mangat, Arthur Blick Jr, Adam Rauf & Yasin Nasser didn’t turn up due to their respective commitments.
Mbarara Rally started with the normal Tradition Ceremonial start 8 stages.,
The first day only saw one proper stage Charles Muhangi, (17kms) long in the memory of the fallen rally legend Charles Muhangi (1999 FIA-ARC Champion) It was followed by double circuit heat Super Special Stage AHAKYAPA (1.12kms) which was run twice to cover Stage 2 and 3 with plenty of action.
The car door number 49 was the talk of day one. The VW polo proto of Rajiv Ruparailia and Enock Olinga edged a 13.30-second gap over the N12B Subaru of Ponsiano Lwakataka and Paul Musaszi at the end of day one.
Day two of competitive sections started with Kitagururo morning stage (44.75kms) where we saw Rajiv securing a comfortable lead of the rally trialed by Ponsiano Lwakataka in a Subaru Impreza N12B.
The rally went on with stage 5 Akageti (26.60kms) and Rajiv maintained the lead into section 6 Sanga stage (13.00kms) long.
Rajiv ‘s outstanding performance humbled many doubters and answered so many questions. Impressive drive from him in the fast day and the 2nd half of day two but he was pushed hard by Ponsiano lwakata and Duncan Mubiru till he crashed out at stage 7 Ahakyapa the longest section of the rally (46.99kms long before long Ponsiono Lwakata also dropped out giving Duncan Mubiru who was 5mins down from the rally leader Clear shot for victory ending his 3 years of starvation without winning a rally.
The New NRC category entrant Ravij looked set to win NRC event on his first attempt but a Costly mistake in the 2nd last stage of the Rally hampered his chance of overthrowing the Generals in NRC on his First Attempt on the top class.
Drivers like Ronald Sebuguzi, Hassan Alwi Jr., Abdul Kateete among others had dropped out due to mechanical problems. Duncan Mubiru alias “Kikankane” who was in 3rd position took the lead and went on to win the event saving the names of pioneers in NRC from being embarrassed by the new entrant Rajiv and Ponsiono Lwakata who was driving a less powerful car compared to the top championship contenders. Now it is Duncan 3rd win of Mbarara Rally (2014, 2015 & 2020.
The focus is on Rally Jinja now the second Round of NRC-Uganda
NRC Standings after Mbarara Rally.
1. Duncan Mubiru – 100pts.
2. Fred Busuulwa Kitaka – 80pts.
3. Omar Mayanja – 70pts.
4. Dr. Ashiraf Ahmed – 60pts.
5. Robert Kasana – 50pts.