Motorsport. As this year’s National Rally Championship comes to a close upon today’s completion of the 381km two-day Mosac Source of the Nile Jinja Rally, one of Hassan Alwi and Jas Mangat will be crowned champion.
KAMPALA/JINJA. Ugandan motorsport once cherished the tradition that had the winner of the season-opening Mbarara Rally go on to be crowned national champion at the end of the season.
Though the facts of this weren’t concretized, it firmly underlined the importance of starting the season on a positive note between 2005 and 2009.
Ronald Ssebuguzi and Ponsiano Lwakataka, twice each, and Dr. Ashraf Ahmed used success in Mbarara as a springboard towards the national title. When Ssebuguzi managed the same accomplishment this term, he must felt a sense of de javu. However, consistency eluded him thereafter and he can only finish third this term.
However, it’s that kind of consistency that has brought this year’s National Rally Championship down to a straight shootout between Hassan Alwi Jnr (Subaru Impreza N14) and Jas Mangat (Mitsubishi Evo. X).
One of them will replace Arthur Blick Jnr upon today’s completion of the 381km two-day Mosac Source of the Nile Jinja Rally. Interestingly, Blick Jnr won here last year.
After yesterday’s Super Special Stage, drivers will do Kagoma Gate (10km), Buwenge (29.9km), Kagoma twice, Magamaga (9km) and Musita (24km) to wind up season blighted by controversy in Masindi.
Alwi Jnr, the season’s sensation, is on 394 points, 94 more than Mangat. The latter must win the event to clinch a third national title to add to his successes of 2012 and 2013.
“It’s fast and nice,” Leon Ssenyange, Ssebuguzi’s co-driver, said of the route after doing his notes for the recently graded rural roads. “If you make a small mistake, you will lose a lot of time,” he added.
Ssebuguzi could usurp Blick Jnr and Christakis Fitidis for third place with the former, on 215, trailing the latter, 230, by 25 points. Fitidis has 240.
The clerk of course Shafiq Matovu mirrors Ssenaynge’e whetted appetite. “It’s all good. Event will be fun and people will enjoy it and we will finish early without controversy,” Matovu promised.
For all his consistency, Alwi Jnr forfeited his points for this event by racing in Rwanda earlier this season and will race for fun while Mangat drives an edgy race as only perfection will do.
Sixth in Mbarara, Alwi Jnr was fourth in Kabale and Masaka before returning to his previous position in Fort Portal. His disqualification from the Kabalega Rally, along with Mangat, put him at the summit.
He was third in Rwanda and then won the prestigious Shell V-Power Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally. On the other hand, Mangat won in Masaka and Fort Portal.
His failure in Tanzania after opting for that ahead of the Pearl Rally cost him dear. Mangat also dropped out in Mbarara.