After boardroom politics since the start of year, finally the motorsports fraternity will have some action when Rukaari-Lake Mburo Mbarara Rally gets under way this morning.
The event, the opening round of the National Rally Championship (NRC) will have 95% closed route designed in Lake Mburo game reserve. The focus will be RR Rally Team crew of Rajiv Ruparelia/ Enock Olinga in VW Proto who will be contesting for NRC points with the big boys for the first time.
Rajiv, still a rookie in the sport was star of the last two events of last season, the Umospoc Kabalega Rally and Mosac rally setting the fastest times.
Can he transform his CRC form into the national championship?
Yasin Nasser, the reigning national champion is positive he will challenge for the NRC title. “There is no doubt he is good, fast and a threat to all of us,” said Nasser who is out of the season opener told the Score.
Leon Ssenyange a senior navigator said Rajiv has the potential to win rallies and will not be under pressure to perform. “Consistence will be the key. You can be number one over five events and drop out in the sixth. That does not win you the titles,” Leon explained. “If you want to win titles you have to be consistent. Rajiv has to find the balance between being fast and consistent.”
Champions skip Mbarara
However, the Mbarara Rally line-up is minus Jas Mangat, winner of the event last year, Arthur Blick jr who was second and Yasin Nasser. Three other champions Ronald Ssebuguzi (Evo X), Ponsiano ‘Mafu Mafu’ Lwakataka (Subaru N12B) and Dr Ashraf Ahmed (Subaru N14) are out to prove their championship credentials.
Lwakataka sounds confident of a fifth triumph in Mbarara. “Mbarara has been a good hunting ground having won four times 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2012. My main focus remains adding on that number,” he told Score. Other drivers to watch include Hajji Omar Mayanja (Evo X), Duncan Mubiru (Subaru GVB), Hassan Alwi (Subaru N14), Adam Rauf (Evo X) and Abdul Kateete (Subaru N14). The event has a total of 171.55km competitive spread over eight sections.
Shell V- Power, Victoria University, Mwesigwa Resort, Asiatic sports and Fayzo Glass Mart are the sponsors of the event.
Provisional start list for top 10
3. Ronald Ssebuguzi/ Anthony Mugwambwa (Evo X)
4. Hassan Alwi / James Mwangi (Subaru N14)
5. Omar Mayanja/ Hussein Mukuye (Evo X)
8. Dr Ashraf Ahmed/ Yusuf Shameer (Subaru N14)
9. Duncan Mubiru/ Musa Nsubuga (Subaru GVB)
11. Ponsiano Lwakataka/ Paul Musaazi (Subaru N12 B)
64. Adam Rauf/ Aaron Nsamba (Evo X)
49. Rajiv Ruparelia/ Enock Olinga (VW Proto)
12. Abdul Kateete / Rahma Muhammad (Subaru N14)
6. Fred Busulwa / Another (Subaru N10)
CS1- Charles Muhangi 30.15 km
CS2- Super special stage 1.12km X2