After failing to finish the Lato Milk Mbarara Rally for the past two years, Jas Mangat won the event yesterday to launch his quest for a fourth National Rally Championship (NRC) title.
Should he pull it off, it would make him the most successful local driver, level with Sam Ssali and Charlie Lubega. That will require him last the entire course of seven races. At least, he has set the tone. Mangat, a three-time national champion with his co-driver Joseph Kamya, brought back the Evo X in a time of 01.47:56 over the 200km two-day race, beating Christakis FItidis and Eric Nzamwita into second place.
Fitidis, the reigning national champion, was six minutes and 33 seconds adrift with the 2011 NRC winning crew Susan Muwonge and Edmond Kyeyune in third.
Mangat, who missed most of last season, dominated the event from day one on Saturday and laid the mark for the rest of the season.
“I intend to do this most of the season, try to win as many events as possible but will not focus on the fourth title,” Mangat told Daily Monitor after his first victory in Mbarara. Adding: “Save for the small incident yesterday (on Saturday) involving the route opener, the event was well organised, and have give credit to organisers.”
On day one, his path was blocked by the route opener. “It was smooth on Saturday as I was flagged off in sixth place, it was clear all the way after the leading cars have gone through. Yesterday (Sunday) was different as I had to open. But I was cautious.”
Kamya, his navigator, was equally delighted with the win. “Being the first event of the season and our experience for the past two years, we had to be careful. Also we did not know what to expect and our strategy was to bring back the car,” Kamya said.
Susan, who finished third, was happy with her performance although the end was not what she expected. “ I still had unfinished business with Fitidis I hoped to overturn the 10secs he beat me with for the second position,” the 2011 champion explained. “I lost the chance when the section (Kamatarisi-Lake-26km) was cancelled.”
The organisers cancelled the section after the Evo X of Adam Rauf and George Ssemakula had a mechanical fault in the middle of the last section and other drivers could not pass. Rauf who delighted the crowd over two days, was lying second. Second placed FItidis, praised Susan for pushing him all the way.
“I give a lot of credit to that lady (Susan) for the way she drove today (final day). She was so competitive over two day,” the reigning national champion said. Nineteen cars out of 37 which started the event on Saturday finis hissed the event. l Mbarara Rally kept its traditional of big names dropping out. Ponsiano Lwakataka, Hassan Alwi, Ronald Ssebuguzi, Omar Mayanja and Fred Busulwa all dropped out.
The next event is in Jinja organised by FMU. The event has a total of over 200km of which 194km was competitive.
Lato Milk, Fero Mobiles, Tip Top, Horizon coaches, Asiatic sports, Coca Cola, Shell V-Power, Tusiime Events Mbarara, Operation wealth Creation, Megger Techinical services Ltd, Super Star, Afia, and UMC Victoria Hospital are the sponsors of the event.
FINAL RESULTS - TOP 10
1. Jas Mangat/Joseph Kamya 1:47:56
2. Christakis Fitidis/Eric Nzamwita 1:54:19
3. Susan Muwonge/Edmon Kyeyune 1:54:19
4. Unnisan Bakunda/ Umar Kakande 2:01:56
5. Dr Ashraf/Edward Kiyingi 2:03:27
6. Umar Dauda/ Muhammad Sebbina 2:03:31
7. Kepher Walubi/Anthony Mugambwa 2:03:39
8. Aine Soedo/Derrick Lubambula 2:08:37
9. Samuel Bwete/Urban Mulindwa 2:10:43
10. Peter Kalule/Mariam Nambasa 2:17:13
MBARARA WINNERS SINCE 2010
2010: Ponsiano Lwakataka
2011: Susan Muwonge
2012: Jas Mangat
2013: Ponsiano Lwakataka
2014: Duncan ‘Kikankane’ Mubiru
2015: Duncan Kikankane
2016: Ronald Ssebuguzi
2017: Omar Mayanja
2018: Jas Mangat