Rajbir Rai surprised many as he emerged best at the two-day Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally that climaxed on Saturday.
After completing a route worth 522km in districts of Wakiso and Luweero, the 24-year-old Kenyan driver finished best in his Mitsubishi Evo IX within a best provisional time of three hours, two minutes and 45 seconds.
Despite being the 24-year-old son of legendary two-time Kenya champion Sarbi Rai’s maiden Pearl Rally, Rai proved his worthiness at high level competitions as he was two seconds clear of Ivorian Garry Chaynes.
Chaynes, however, came ahead of 2012 champion Zambian Mohammed Essa who finished third in 3:03.18. And Chaynes’ fourth podium finish in six events ensured he remains top of the Africa Rally Championship (ARC) standings. Essa, who led into the final on Saturday, is still second.
Only 23 drivers completed the event that had attracted 41 crews. Defending champion Jas Mangat crashed out on a rainy day one after suffering a gear box problem while day one leader Kenyan Jasper Chatthe did not finish.
Omar Mayanja was the best among the Ugandan drivers as he finished fifth overall in 3:19:24. Arthur Blick was sixth ahead of Rwanda’s Christakis Fitidis.
PEARL OF AFRICA UGANDA RALLY
2014 FINAL RESULTS
1. Rajbir Rai (KEN) 3:02:45
2: Garry Chynes (CIV) 3:02:47
3. Mohammed Essa (ZAM) 3:03:18
4. Manvir Baryan (KEN) 3:18:33
5. Omar Mayanja (UGA) 3:19:24
6. Arthur Blick (UGA) 3:20:43
7. Christakis Fitidis (RWA) 3:31:39
8. Giancarlo Davite (RWA) 3:36:22
9. Wilbert Pole Pole (UGA) 3:46:04
10. Musa Kabega (UGA) 3:46:32
11. Denis Mwenda (UGA) 3:49:24
12. Ahmed Ashraf(UGA) 3:58:48
13. Susan Muwonge (UGA) 3:59:29
14. Jon Consta (UGA) 4:00:01
15. Duncan Mubiru (UGA) 4:10:41
16. Leila Mayanja (UGA) 4:19:31
17. Ismail Ortega (UGA) 4:20:02
18. John Burrows (UGA) 4:23:09
19. Edson Mungyereza (UGA) 4:25:30
20. Abaas Mayinja (UGA) 4:27:13
21. Fred Senkumba (UGA) 4:29:18
22. Ismail Waligo (UGA) 4:33:08
23. Eddie Mukiibi (UGA) 4:41:43
2004: Charlie Lubega (Uganda) Mitsubishi Evo 4
2005: Riyaz Kurji (Uganda) Subaru N10
2006: Riyaz Kurji (Kenya) Subaru N8
2007: Conrad Rautenbach (Zimbabwe) Subaru N10
2008: Jamie Whyte (Zimbabwe) Subaru N10
2009: Riyaz Kurji (Kenya) Subaru N8
2010: Jamie Whyte (Zimbabwe) Subaru N10
2011: Ponsiano Lwakataka (Uganda) Subaru N8
2012: Mohammed Essa (Zambia) Subaru N12
2013: Jas Mangat (Uganda) Mitsubishi Evo X