Dauda the unlikely winner as big shots fall in Fort Portal NRC rally

Ponsiano Lwakataka, NRC leader

What you need to know:

  • The crew of Umar Dauda and Hamza Lwanga, cruising a Mitsubish Evo VI, recovered from day one’s sixth place finish to win their first ever NRC event.

Duncan Muiru will have to wait for a successful event in his Ford Fiesta Proto after yet another disappointing outing in the UMC Fort Portal Tourism City Rally 2022.

The crew of Umar Dauda and Hamza Lwanga, cruising a Mitsubish Evo VI, recovered from day one’s sixth place finish to win their first ever NRC event.

No one would have anticipated a three-horse race involving Dauda, Jonas Kansiime and Mark Lubega prior to the event.

The three held their nerves to last the distance and give the podium an unfamiliar look. Of the three, only Kansiime had made the NRC podium before.

Dauda cruise to a historic win in one hour 25 minutes and 38 seconds. He was 11 seconds faster than second-placed Kansiime.

For Mubiru and his navigator and Musa Nsubuga, the DNF tag is becoming familiar.

The Kikankane crew, even before upgrading to the Proto, had failed to finish the Mbarara Rally in their Subaru GBV. He rolled in Kaliro the first time out in the Proto. Another DNF visited upon the 2020/21 champion in the Pearl of Africa Rally in Lugazi.

The Fort Portal event will, however, be the most disappointing for Mubiru who was on course for a first victory of the season. With rivals Ponsiano Lwakataka and Ronald Sebuguzi retiring on Day One, the stage was set for the Proto to win its first local event.

It was not meant to be and in the second last section of the rally, Karim Hirji 2, as the car could not push on after encountering a drive shaft issue and the crew watched as Godfrey Aine sped past.

Good start

Everything seemed to be playing in Mubiru’s favour after Sebuguzi, in a newly acquired Proto, and Lwakataka retiring. Lwakataka had taken the first section of the event but that is all he could do.

The crew posted 32 minutes and 37 seconds to lead after Day One and started Day Two by claiming the first two stages.

The crew of Mike Mukula and Edward Kiyingi, in the CRC category, was on Kikankane’s heels after Day One. They posted the best time – six minutes – in the second stage and also had the best times from the two sprint runs to trail Kikankane by a few seconds.

Mubiru kept edging closer to victory and took the Karm Hirji stage, the first section of Day Two with five minutes and 34 seconds. He also took the 25km Harugongo stage in 16 minutes.

Lwakataka down not out

All eyes might have been on the Protos of Sebuguzi and Mubiru heading into the fourth round of the NRC championship, but Lwakataka was still the man to beat.

The log leader went into the event heads and shoulders above the rest, on 262 points, 122 ahead of second placed Jas Mangat, who pulled out of the weekend event.

The Mafu Mafu driver even hinted on settling for third place and generally being cautious. Luck was not on his side in Fort Portal, though, as he retired from after the first section. His Subaru N12 engine gave way. He had already posted the best time 15 minutes 57 seconds from the first stage, Harugongo, four seconds better than Mubiru.

But, like in 2018 and 2019, Lwakataka went home early again due to engine failure.

The next event on the NRC calendar is the Masaka Rally slated for August.