At the time of his suspension along with three other drivers last year, Duncan ‘Kikankane’ Mubiru was fourth on the National Rally Championship (NRC) log without winning a championship event.
There was a general feeling though that Kikankane would give eventual winner Jas Mangat a run for his money as the season negotiated its business end.
The ban, however, put paid to any such occurrence.
But on Sunday in Mbarara, Kikankane, who was navigated by Paul Musaazi, gave credence to the belief that he will be one of the drivers to provide stiff competition to Mangat’s third consecutive NRC quest.
The exciting driver won the season opening Mbarara Rally, clocking one hour, 38 minutes and 25 seconds with Ronald Ssebuguzi /Cedric Buzabo 1:40:29 and Fred Wampamba /Enoch Olinga 1:49:48 finishing second and third respectively.
Kikankane now believes he has a good chance to win the NRC title this year if he continues registering podium finishes.
“The car was good today,” said Kikankane, who cruised a Subaru N14.
“And if it stays in this shape throughout then I will definitely be up there with top drivers by the end of the season.” During the Super Special Stage in Misaali on Day One, Kikankane finished 14th in a time of 0.08.11. But he recovered superbly on Day Two to win Competitive Section (CS) Three at 0.47.19 to set the tone for his first Mbarara victory.
While Kikankane was proud of his car, his rivals were not that fortunate as Ssebuguzi had to overcome brake failure to complete the rally. Despite winning CS 4 and 5, John Consta finished a distant 11th after suffering mechanical problems in CS 3. Veteran Wycliffe Bukenya and the improving Jonas Kansiime completed the top five. Out of the 23 drivers, a commendable number of 16 completed the season opening event.
HOW THEY FINISHED
Duncan Mubiru (Subaru N14) 1:38:25
Ronald Ssebuguzi (Evo.9) 1:40:29
Fred Wampamba (Subaru N8) 1:49:48
Wycliff Bukenya (Evo.9) 1:51:25
Jonas Kansiime (Subaru N10) 1:54:57
Ssemujju Shafik (Subaru N11) 1:55:51
Nasser Mutebi (Subaru N8) 2:02:11
Leila Blick (Toyota Allex) 2:07:40
Omar Mayanja (Evo.5) 2:09:15
Jaffar Kamya (Subaru) 2:11:45
John Consta (Subaru N10) 2:15:17
Patrick Ssebambulidde (Subaru) 2:16:46
Ismael Ortega (Toyota Run X) 2:22:45
Wilbert Pole Pole (Impreza) 2:22:47