The story of last year’s National Rally Championship (NRC) was sown in the consistency of Hassan Alwi Junior and the perfection, in the end, of Jas Mangat, plus a bit of controversy in Hoima and Masindi.
Alwi Jnr, the revelation of the season, reminded many of the need for consistency. He finished sixth in Mbarara before two fourth place finishes in Kabale and Masaka.
Winning the Shell V-Power Pearl of Uganda Rally underlined his rise. On the other hand, Mangat won four of the seven races triumphing in Kabale, Masaka, Fort Portal and Jinja to clinch a third national title.
Mangat (Mitsubishi Evo. X), 400 points, edged out Alwi Jnr (Subaru N14) by six.
Both now have points to make up having not finished the 2017 NRC season opener, the Lato Milk Mbarara Rally last month.
The pair are in the 37-crew entry list for the second round, the two-day Gorilla in the Mist Rally, that gets underway in Kabale tomorrow at the tip of Uganda’s southern border with neighbours Rwanda.
Mangat a rival
Omar Mayanja, the NRC leader on 100 points, after his triumph in Mbarara, expects Mangat and Alwi Jnr to push hard to make up the ground.
“Of course, they (Mangat and Alwi Jnr) are going for the victory. They have a gap to make up,” Mayanja, co-driven by Hussein Mukuye, in a Mitsubishi Evo. X, said while doing his recee yesterday. “They must be looking to score 100 points.”
“That’s what you would do if you are in their position,” he added. He also offered an assessment of the 321km, 178.92km of which is competitive spread over 13 competitive sections. Nine of those are set for tomorrow before Sunday’s finale. “The roads are good but challenging and tricky. Caution must be exercised as mistakes will cost you dear,” Mayanja warned.
The event has attracted 37 drivers including three from Rwanda. Byona Executive Travel are bankrolling it to the tune of Sh35.5m. Kabonge Coffee Company, Hima Cement, White Horse Inn, Masolin Signs and Gaz are co-sponsors.
In addition, Lato Milk, Big win Casino, Ferro Mobile, ICEA, Big Zone Entertainment, Voice of Kigezi, Fire and Safety Appliances, Cephas Inn Kabale, Kamuntu Investments, Rusenga Gorilla Camp, Bunyonyi Overland Resort, Mist Bar, Wide World Movers and Jivaji are the others.