The rally crew of Yassin Nasser and Ali Katumba held their mantle and pushed their Subaru Imprezza GVB to ninth overall to salvage some pride for Uganda rally during this weekend’s Safari Rally in Kenya.
Six Ugandan crews dared to tackle the rally and hoped they would raise Uganda’s flag, competing with the best rallying crews from the region and beyond.
It was a rather disappointing rally for the Ugandan crews, but it was never going to be easy given the nature and complexity of the Kenyan Safari which holds the reputation of being the toughest rally in the world.
Duncan ‘Kikankane’ Mubiru and Musa Nsubuga finished seventh last year, and they had hoped to go even better this year but they also had their troubles. They however, managed to soldier on and finished in a commendable 13th position overall.
2017 Uganda national champion Christakis Fitidis had a dismal performance, finishing 26th overall.
Ronald Sebuguzi and Leon Ssenyange despite lying ninth on day one, were the first Ugandan crew to taste the wrath of the safari after their Mitsubishi Evo X stalled after hitting a water splash with just over seven kilometers after the start of day two.
Kepher Walubi and Anthony Mugambwa also in a Mitsubishi Evo X had enjoyed a good rally until their car developed problems on the final day before their luck ran out in the final section of the rally and they sadly had to bow out.
Godfrey Nsereko and JB Musisi who entered in the 2-wheel drive category put up quite a performance, leading the category before they had to pull out with mechanical problems on the penultimate section of the day.
Overall, the old adage of the Safari prevailed as a cool, steady, patient drive by Kenyan Baldev Singh Chagger earned him his third career Safari Rally victory. Hot favorite Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo recovered from an early mishap to finish second overall.
Defending African champion Manvir Baryan who held a 35 second lead going into the final section of the rally but stopped mid-section with mechanical issues and lost over six minutes dropping from first to third overall.
1994 WRC Safari Rally winner Ian Duncan nursed his Mitsubishi Evo X to fourth place. Zambia’s rallying couple Leroy and Urshilla Gomes finished fifth while Jassy Singh finished his first ever Safari rally in sixth place.
The Safari rally was run as a candidate event for the World Rally Championship and if all goes to plan, Africa’s premier motorsport event could return to the WRC for the 2020 season since it was scrapped off the calendar in 2002.