Katumba worried of dusty conditions 

Ali Katumba (L) and Yasin Nasser. PHOTO | JOHN BATANUDDE

What you need to know:

  • Early Notes Taken. Nasser and his navigator Katumba did recee on Monday and found visibility very tricky ahead of the World Rally Championship Safari Rally in Naivasha starting tomorrow.

Every local rally driver’s dream is to compete in an FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) event and the crew of Yasin Nasser and Ali Katumba will live that dream.

The pair is one of four Ugandan crews that will compete, starting tomorrow, in a WRC event which returns to Africa for the first time in two decades with the Kenya Safari Rally in Naivasha.

Like many, this will be a first for 2019 national rally champion Nasser. He has high hopes of raising the Ugandan flag high on the biggest stage for motorsport in Africa.

But, the biggest worry from the crew are the dusty conditions in the Naivasha area where the rally will be concentrated.

Poor visibility

The pair did recee on Monday. They found visibility very tricky to the drivers. “We found it difficult to do recce because of the dust in the roads. We have to be very careful especially if there is a car in front of you. It takes minutes for the dust to clear,” said navigator Katumba.

However, he was full of praise for the routes because they are fairly technical which test the driver and the machine.

The MOIL-sponsored driver will want to emulate the last performances put up by drivers Emmanuel Katto, Karim Hirji and Late Charles Muhangi last competed in this event.

Seventh place

Katto’s seventh place finish in the 1997 Safari Rally is the best placement for a Ugandan crew. The Nasser-Katumba team will drive the Subaru GVB and they are going to wear sticker number 49. “Our main target is to finish the event and be classified as among the finishers and walk away with a trophy,” Nasser vowed.

The crew is hopeful that they are going to build on the experience received from the past events they have taken part on the Kenyan soil.

Kenyan experience

It’s not the first time the team is taking part in a Kenyan event. They have so far taken part in Guru Nanak Rally and three Safari rallies which were Africa rally Championship events.

“This is the fourth time we are going to take part in a Kenyan event, but this is special because it’s pairing us with the world’s best,” said Katumba.

Drivers taking part in this event will be classified in four classes which include WRC, WRC 2, WRC3 and RC2 where most of the Ugandan drivers will be taking part.

The team will test their car tomorrow in the customary shakedown. Seven-time world champion Sebastian Ogier is the biggest attraction.

With 52 victories in the WRC and seven titles (six consecutive), he is the second most successful WRC driver, after former Citroën WRC teammate Sébastien Loeb (nine titles)

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