Mafu Mafu passes the tricky terrain test in season opener
What you need to know:
- In an event that was missing big names such as Mangat, Rajiv Ruparelia and Yassin Nasser, defending champion Duncan Mubiru, Blick Jr and Ssebuguzi were expected to fight for the title.
At 1.33pm on Sunday, Ponsiano Lwakataka arrived at the Kibega turn to attack the home stretch and win the Rukaari Lake Mburo Mbarara Rally in 1 hour 32 minutes and 33 seconds.
He beat second placed Fred Busulwa by over eight minutes in an event in which only 15 of 24 cars that started came home.
It is Lwakataka’s third win in Mbarara having got victory in 2010 and 2012. He now joins Jas Mangat and Duncan Mubiru on three Mbarara Rally titles.
The Mafu Mafu driver, navigated by Paul Musaazi, took the first event after outlasting Ronald Ssebuguzi and Arthur Blick Jr on day two of the competition.
Having finished the first day behind both Blick and Ssebuguzi, Lwakataka emerged first from the three sections on Sunday to draw first blood in the race to the National Rally Championship.
Blick, who held a healthy lead after day one, had a mechanical problem Sunday morning to hand the lead to Ssebuguzi.
“As a senior driver, I had a bad day one but I played it cool. I expected to catch up in the long routes of day two,” Lwakataka told Daily Monitor after the win.
“The long stretches are good for Subaru and I took the chance,” he added.
He drives a Subaru Impreza N12B.
Ssebuguzi then failed to negotiate the second section on Sunday and Lwakataka took charge.
Fred Busulwa, co-driven by Joseph Bongole, came second while Godfrey Aine and his codrive Derrick Lubambula completed the podium.
Big shots fall
In an event that was missing big names such as Mangat, Rajiv Ruparelia and Yassin Nasser, defending champion Duncan Mubiru, Blick Jr and Ssebuguzi were expected to fight for the title.
But all three left Mbarara with no points after falling victims to the tough terrains in the western region.
Mubiru could not go past the second stage on day one after his car lost power and he was forced to enter into the super rally on day two.
He, however, rolled in the first stage on day two to exit the competition.
Blick’s Mitsubish EVO X got issues with the fuel pump in the Charles Muhangi stage to drop out.
Ssebuguzi came out of the Charles Muhangi stage leading but his Mitsubish Evo X got issues with the ball joint in the Pole Pole stage to drop and hand Lwakataka a relatively smooth ride to the title.
MBARARA RALLY RESULTS
1.Ponsiano Lwakataka 1:32:33
2.Fred Busulwa 1:40:11
3.Godfrey Aine 1:43:48
4.Edward Kirumira 1:51:20
5.Mark Lubega 1:56:40