After two action packed events, the third round of the 2019 National Rally Championship takes the contenders to Masaka. The Southern Motor Club (SMC) Rally has been a firm favorite on the calendar, consistently maintaining its signature fast and flowing route and colourful atmosphere.
Masaka is one of the spiritual rally districts and it has its own unique challenge. Running in the villages and swamps of Masaka and Kyotera, it gets literally breath-taking as competing crews average speeds close to 200 MPH. Drivers agility, endurance, utmost concentration and dedication are the required skill set.
Much like last year, the championship is again becoming a very unpredictable affair with two different winners already taking the podium. Of the current top five drivers, only Yassin Nasser is yet to win a national event.
However, his drives to second place in Mukono during NRC 2, and his spirited performance during the season opening Mbarara Rally are something that underline the new found level of performance for the Moil team driver. But the attention will undoubtedly be on the return of Jas Mangat who returns for the first time since his unfortunate accident in Mbarara.
Championship leader Ronald Ssebuguzi will need to draw some inspiration from his unbeatable drive in Mukono as he sets his sights on his fourth national rally title and will lead Team Shell charge together with 2015 champions Arthur Blick and Al-Hajji Omar Mayanja.
Ponsiano Lwakataka was unbeatable during this event last year as he stamped his authority on his home event. And he is full of confidence to defend his crown stating that he is ready for the challenge and will be lethal once again.
“I will not give these outsiders a chance of winning me at my home turf. This is the event I have to win to improve my points tally and kick start my title charge,” Lwakataka roared ahead of the rally.
Duncan ‘Kikankane’ Mubiru cannot be written off despite his slow start to the season, he still remains a top contender. His re-union with the Subaru Imprezza GVB means he is one to look out for. While Hassan Alwi has had a progressive development since his switch to the national class. Currently second on the championship, he has the credentials of winning any rally.
Defending Champion Susan Muwonge has had quite a difficult start, finishing a distant 11th in Mbarara and then failing to finnish an event for the first time in years, the Super Lady will have to dig deeper into her amoury to reclaim her spot.
Ismail Watendwa will lead out the field in the 2wd category as he sets his sights on winning the category but he will have Timothy Gawaya and 2016 Champion Ismail Waliggo for competition.
Thirty eight crews have been confirmed to take part with Jas Mangat to run the first car on the road. The rally will cover a total distance of over 200 kilometers with 133 kilometres of competitive distance – the longest being 42 kilometre Kagezi section.
Action starts with a super special spectator stage at Kako grounds which will see a double circuit on the opening day Saturday.