Shell V-Power Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally take-aways

Blue-Eyed Boys. The Shell V-Power sponsored crews of Arthur Blick Jr (C) and Ronald Ssebuguzi (R) received their packages for the 24th edition of the Shell V-Power Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally yesterday at Shell Lugogo. PHOTO | JOHN BATANUDDE

What you need to know:

  • Hassan Alwi was the last Ugandan driver to win Peal in 2016 and what followed was total domination by Kenya’s Manvir Baryan.

The Shell V-Power Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally had it all.

From drivers doing recce on dry roads and competing on muddy ones to Uganda ending the wait for another victory on home soil.

Hassan Alwi was the last Ugandan driver to win Peal in 2016 and what followed was total domination by Kenya’s Manvir Baryan.

He won three in a row but was a no-show this time round, leaving Zambia’s Leroy Gomes and Kenya’s Karan Patel as the tough challengers.

Jas Mangat, however, put a smile on Ugandans’ faces by winning the two-day event in one hour, 53 minutes and six seconds.

It was also his second Pearl Rally title having landed it in 2013.

Safety 

Prior to the event, all the attention was on safety. The previous Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally events left the country’s reputation wounded.

Uganda was on a yellow card and on the verge of losing the event. 

But, if words from the FIA officials are anything to go by, the event should be back here next year. 

The officials were impressed by the discipline exhibited by the fans and expressed this in their post-event comments.

It helps that the action was largely on private land, running through the sugar cane and tea plantations in areas of Mukono and Lugazi.

It turned out to be an incident-free event that scored high marks for Uganda.

Big shots falter 

Motorsport can be brutal. A good car is never enough for the driver to win. It takes luck sometimes.

Duncan Mubiru has arguably the best car in Uganda at the moment but is one of the drivers who couldn’t finish the seven sections done.

His Ford Fiesta Proto couldn’t go all the way.

Having retired in Mbarara and done a super rally in Kaliro, the DNF over the weekend emphasized the NRC champion’s struggles this year.

Arthur Blick, Ronald Sebuguzi, Hassan Alwi all couldn’t see the finish line.

Karan Patel, who was one of the favourites going into the weekend, ended the event doing a super rally after faltering on day one.

EvoX fights

The Ford Fiesta R5s are expected to dominate African rally the next few years.

And yet, Jas Mangat still managed to power his Mitsubishi EvoX to victory ahead of Leroy Gomes’ R5.

The Ugandan driver was top of his game from the first section on day one and took two of the three stages before holding on to win it all on Sunday.

Zambia’s Gomes did enough to stay top of the ARC standings with four rounds left on the calendar.

His immediate challenger, Karan Patel struggled on day one and that must have encouraged the Zambian crew to stay cautious and get over the line.

Lwakataka has eyes on NRC

Ponsiano Lwakataka made it clear going into the event that his eyes were still on winning the National Rally Championship.

And, even with a five-minute penalty for deviation, the Mafu Mafu driver finished second to stay on course with four rounds left in the race.

Mangat was only collecting his first points of the season, same as 2019 champion Yasin Nasser and yet the other top drivers have been inconsistent so far this season.

It all works in Lwakataka’s favour as he pushes for a third NRC title.

Visit Uganda

The Ugandan tourism sector must be one of the biggest winners from the event.

The various top performers were rewarded with plaques and artifacts and these were made in a way that brought out what Uganda has on offer in the tourism sector.

Mountain Gorillas, Antelopes, Hippopotamus, Crested Crane, and other animals were all marketed, especially at the closing ceremony.

The event’s MC Leon Senyange event went further to persuade Gomes to stay and visit the gorillas.

ARC TOP THREE 

Jas Mangat/Joseph Kamya 1:53:06
Leroy Gomes/Urshlla 1:58:11
Davite Giancarlo/Sylvia Vindevogel 1:58:11

NRC TOP THREE 

Jas Mangat/Joseph Kamya 1:53:6
Ponsiano Lwakataka/Paul Musaazi 2:00:38
Yasin Nasser/Ali Katumba 2:09:09

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