What you need to know:
- So for those heading to the East this weekend, it is worth noting that Mbale probably decides nothing.
- However, it appears that only a Ssebuguzi win in Mbale will decide the championship. Any other result leaves the 2018 Championship in suspense.
Kampala. This weekend marks the final round of the 2018 FMU National Championship with the staging of the MOSAC Oryx Rally in Eastern Uganda.
But as fans head to Mbale for what is being touted as the championship decider, they must be caught in a trance given recent rulings from FMU.
The three title protagonists Ronald Ssebuguzi, Susan Muwonge and Jas Mangat must also be wondering how much effort to put into the fight given that there is now confusion as to the correct points allocations for the trio.
The problem arises out of the Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally (POAUR) where most of the local competitors were classified in Group S for lack of the new FIA FT3 Safety Fuel Tank.
While ARC events before the POAUR were afforded a waiver for this rule, Uganda’s most prestigious motorsport event was due to be the first event to run in full compliance of the rule.
Ssebuguzi and Muwonge fell foul of the rule and were thus classified Group S in all official documentation. Mangat was compliant and was thus able to be categorized as Group N /RC2.
However, after the event, FMU awarded points as has always been the case with an ARC event involved, sticking to the argument that for NRC purposes, local homologation will suffice.
However, a simple inquiry into the procedure from Christakis Fitidis the 2017 national champion, well over two (2) months after the event and also after NRC 6 seems to have thrown the cat among the pigeons as FMU seem to be unable to resolve the problem authoritatively.
For a start, the assignment was forwarded to the Sporting Commission to resolve. Their undated report (which the Daily Monitor has seen) seems to be a point of contention as it appears that one of the signatories was a competitor. This is strictly forbidden by the FMU Constitution. Under the circumstances, it is difficult to see how this report can stand.
This issue (and the report) were discussed by FMU Management (rather than the FMU Executive) and seems to have resulted in the communication signed by the FMU President Dusman Okee which has been doing the social media rounds since Saturday. That communication seems to have sown even more confusion with the implication that while the Group N/RC2 cars could benefit from ARC 40% bonus points as per Article 7.1.1 of the National Competition Rules, Group S cars could not, which is clearly against Article 7.1.1.
Group cars also benefit from the bonus points, but to a lesser extent as clearly laid out in the table in Art. 7.1.1.
Clearly this letter too cannot stand given this anomaly and is likely to be challenged by any aggrieved party. Leon Ssenyange of Team Ssebuguzi confirmed that they are studying the ruling and intend to challenge it.
Adding to the confusion is Article 3.3 of the national competition rules which states that Group S cars will only suffer a 5% penalty to whatever points are earned.Pu
Put this altogether and there are potentially 4 different NRC standings that are in play depending on one’s interpretation.
All this raises more questions than answers; if some cars were Group S in the POAUR, what about the subsequent events – NRC 6 and the upcoming NRC 7?
Do we now have different rules for different events during the same championship year?
It is clear that this issue has badly caught out the wise men of FMU who are floundering with their response.
With NRC 7 taking place this weekend, it is unlikely that the issue will be decided by then.
This indecision is likely to rumble on long after the Oryx Rally is concluded. We are back to 2016 when the Kabalega Rally was contested.
So for those heading to the East this weekend, it is worth noting that Mbale probably decides nothing.
However, it appears that only a Ssebuguzi win in Mbale will decide the championship. Any other result leaves the 2018 Championship in suspense.
Standings after pearl
Ronald Ssebuguzi 340 pts
Susan Muwonge 315
Jas Mangat 305
Standings after Oct 31
Jas Mangat 305
Ronald Ssebuguzi 300
Susan Muwonge 295
NRCs Article 7.1.1
Ronald Ssebuguzi 312
Jas Mangat 305
Susan Muwonge 301
NRCs Art. 3.3
Ronald Ssebuguzi 333
Susan Muwonge 311.5
Jas Mangat 305
ARC points allocation
FIA Groups GROUP S
1 140 112
2 105 84
3 84 67
4 70 56