Saturday May 3 2014

Masaka rally: Ssebuguzi, Kansiime eye top prize

Kansiime (R) and navigator Joseph Bongole

Kansiime (R) and navigator Joseph Bongole celebrate after completing the Mbarara Challenge Rally in February.Photo by JB Ssenkubuge 


Ronald Ssebuguzi is yet to win an event but two runner-up slots at the opening Mbarara and Source of Nile Jinja rallies have left him top of this year’s National Rally Championship (NRC) standings with 150 points.
And when he gets into the cockpit of his Mitsubish Evo 9 car this morning, Ssebuguzi’s mind will not be focused on winning, but rather completing the two-day MPU Masaka Challenge Rally.
The two-time NRC champion will want to drive cautiously at the weekend so as to score points and keep in chase for a third crown to add to his 2006 and 2009 titles.

“As long as I complete in Masaka, I will be happy,” Ssebuguzi told Saturday Monitor early this week. “Finishing the event and scoring points to keep top [of NRC standings] is what matters most now for me.”
While Ssebuguzi is gunning to keep top of the pile, second-placed Jonas Kansiime, winner of the Jinja event two months ago, expects a similar atmosphere and seeks improvement on the charts.
“It is almost the same field of competitors like in Jinja and I expect the same hype and vibe,” Subaru N10 driver Kansiime said.

But he is worried of being the second route opener of the 287.82km race. “It will require huge determination and concentration,”
“I am hopeful and with God’s backing, I will leave Masaka as the victor,” a soft-spoken Kansiime, who is 10 points behind Sebuguzi, added.
Today, the drivers will first compete in two Super Special Stage Sections at Misaali of 3.4km each before engaging their gears for tomorrow’s three Competitive Sections (CS) worth 197.46km. They will drive at CS3 through Bukeeri to Bisanje for 64.07km, CS4 route from Kasana to Kitengesa for 32.04km, CS5 for 30.48km between Kadugala and Kyabakuza before repeating CS3.