Kikankane raring to go in Mbarara Pine Rally
Posted Saturday, February 9 2013 at 02:00
Rally. The fight for early points in the 2013 National Rally Championship starts today in Mbarara but it will be without 2011 winner Susan ‘Super Lady’ Muwonge.
“This is a defining season for me. Nothing short of the championship will be a disaster,” vowed Duncan ‘Kikankane’ Mubiru as he was supervising his mechanics putting final touches on his Subaru N14.
“Make sure we have all the extra tyres and spare shocks,” he ordered his mechanics as he spoke to Saturday Monitor of his intentions this season on Thursday.
“I respect every driver who competes but I am ready to take them on this season. The N14 is fully repaired and ready to roll,” said Kikankane, who despite leading the charts for the early part of the season, finished a disappointing fifth last year.
Kikankane might have set bold intentions but the man to beat this season remains the reigning national champion Jas Mangat, who won four out of six NRC events last term.
The Air Uganda-sponsored driver has already had one event this season, participating in the KCB Kajiado Rally where he raked up a seventh-place finish in his Subaru N12B.
Mangat will participate both in the NRC and Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) this season. “By taking part in two championships, it will keep me in good shape and give me an edge over my rivals because I will be in the cockpit more than the rest,” he said.
Mangat also feels this season the competition is going to be tight with more drivers bringing in new cars. Ronald Ssebuguzi (Evo9) of Team Jomayi is another driver with eyes on the title and his back-to-back wins in the sprint make a good case of his hunger to add a third title to his trophy cabinet after the exploits of 2006 and 2009.
But one man nobody can write off remains Ponsiano Lwakataka. The former champion has an ‘ageing’ car but one would be foolhardy to dismiss his title potential. Others to watch include Rwanda-based Christakis Fitidis (Subaru N12), who was fourth last season, Shaffik Ssemujju (Subaru N11), who finished the season strongly, Wycliff Bukenya (Evo9) and John Consta (Subaru N8).
Today, the event starts with a Super Special Stage (two runs) at Pine Ridge double circuit in Bwala, Masaka before the cars tackle the Katovu–Lyantonde (39km) section in the afternoon. The cars will then stay in Mbarara overnight. Over 30 drivers will be in action.