By Shafic Kiyaga
The final round of the 2018 National Rally Championship promised ‘entertainment and more’ as three top crews vied for the crown.
Top of the list was the points total fracas that dominated much of the pre-rally talking points ahead of the seventh race of the calendar as protests and counter protests were thrown at Federation of Motorsports Associations of Uganda (FMU) desks.
2016 and three time national rally champion Jas Mangat decided he was not going to have any of this confusion and consequently pulled out his entry into the Mbale event. Mangat’s withdrawal threw the title race open as Ronald Sebuguzi and Susan Muwonge were to go for the outright win.
Rally day and the 2018 Oryx Energy Rally in Mbale was not yet done before front runner and crowd favorite to win the championship, Ronald Sebuguzi was stopped middway the morning section with a suspension problem.
Suddenly the title became ‘Super Lady’ Susan Muwlnge’s championship to lose as her direct competitors could not add to their points total. And Muwonge grasped this chance with open arms, cruising to second place at the end of the first leg behind Hassan Alwi.
Alwi/ Enock Olinga won two of the five stages and is ahead by 32 seconds. The win gives him an outside chance at lifting the 2018 title.
“The rally has so far not been bad for us. We managed to set the pace early on and are now comfortable. On Sunday, we shall still push for the win,” he said.
2016 2wd Champion, Hajji Ismail Waliggo and Ronald Bukenya in a Toyota Vitz are leading the 2-wd category ahead of Tim Gawaya who is a minute off their pace. Clubman Rally Championship driver Ismail Bwamiki in a Mitsubishi Evo VII is lying in a surprising eighth position overall.
Other victims of the rally, deemed to be a test of man and machine against the elements by organiisers MOSAC, are Mubiru Duncan ‘Kikankane’, Andy Musoke and Christakis Fitidis.
Mubiru in a Subaru Impreza N14 stopped in CS2 with a crashed engine while Musoke/Aaron Nsamba also stopped in CS3 with drive shaft problems. Fitidis, the 2017 champion did not go past CS2.
Now Muwonge and Edmond Kyeyune need to finish the event not below fifth in order to be crowned 2018 champion which will be her second title in her rally career.
Meanwhile, If Alwi wins the rally and Susan fails to finish, he could be crowned 2018 champion.
The rally resumes Sunday with three competitive section before the overall winner will be announced at the end of the day in a closing ceremony.