Ahead of the 21st edition of the V-Power Shell of Africa Rally, local drivers were talking big about stopping Manvir Baryan in the Skoda Fabia R5.
One by one, the local top drivers dropped out to hand over an easy win to Kenyan Baryan and his British co-driver Drew Sturrock in Kayunga on Saturday.
The win also completed a hat-trick for the Kenyan, becoming the first driver to win the event in consecutive years.
No wonder, Baryan who also won his third Africa Rally Championship (ARC) in a row wants more next year. He dominated from day one on Friday and won all the nine competitive sections in the event to underline the gap between him and the rest.
Despite the domination, the Multiple Racing Team (MRT) driver has a lot of respect to Ugandan drivers. “There are some good drivers here, Jas (Mangat), Ssebuguzi (Ronald) unfortunately they dropped out early,” he told the Daily Monitor.
On his future, the flamboyant driver is not done with rallying. “I will drive next year, most probably be back for the Pearl Rally. I enjoy driving here, the crowds in Busiika really excite me.”
The Kenyan also thanked the organisers for the route. “It was similar to the past two editions but with much improvement. He also thanked his sponsors, Kampala Cement, who have made it possible for him to participate in the past three Pearl rallies.
Yassin Nasser was delighted for his second place overall and first in National Rally Championship (NRC) category. “I feel very excited, happy work pays and trained hard to stay in touch with the big boys,” Nasser who drives a Subaru GVB in Moil colours said.
His maiden NRC victory takes him top of the championship with 285 points, 45 ahead of Ssebuguzi, the previous leader who failed to add to his tally.
The Shell Helix crew of Arthur Blick Jr and George Ssemakula in Mitsubishi Evo X were also excited with their second place finish in the NRC category which put them back in the title race. “This was a well-earned podium after all the problems we had including the puncture in the very last section which denied us victory,” the 2015 national champion now third on NRC with 185 pts, said.