The start of the new National Rally Championship season is upon us as the weekend Mbarara Rally marks the beginning of a fresh era for the sport.
The Lato Milk Mbarara Rally revs off on 26-28 January in Mbarara.
This year’s NRC championship could prove to be one of the most competitive with advanced preparations, new strategies, wider scoop of title contenders, new car and fresh ambitions towards the title.
We break down for your the expected crews that will put up a show for the top spot.
Christakis Fitidis/Eric Nzamwita – Evo X
Being the reigning NRC champion, Fitidis will target to start the season on a high.
The 65-year-old had his contention kept within the top five positions. He will now have to fight further for the top spot to light up his title defence.
Ronald Sebuguzi/Leon Ssenyange – Evo X
The V-Power sponsored crew narrowly missed out on winning last year’s Mbarara Rally. Another chance to top the season opener awaits him this weekend.
Sebuguzi has always come so close to winning the NRC title. He can only hope to carry his season ending form into the new year.
Duncan Mubiru/Musa Nsubuga – Subaru GVB
Duncan Mubiru is highly placed for a win following the acquisition of the Subaru GVB from Kenya.
A win in Mbarara will confirm that he made a good choice of car.
Besides, Mubiru desires this year’s title than anybody else after coming to close last year only to finish third overall; his best overall NRC finish.
Omar Mayanja/Hussein Mukuye – Evo X
The defending Mbarara rally winner. Omar Mayanja will have to prove that his win was not only out of luck but also hard earned in the two days.
Bad season it was for him last year. He will have to hope for the best to kick start his title chase on a high.
Whether he will defend the win or not, Mayanja is out to fight for the top spot in Mbarara.
Jas Mangat/Joseph Kamya – Evo X
The Pilipili rally team driver has proved to be the most credible threat among all drivers.
Mangat has never gone for less other than a win. And his strategy wont change for Mbarara rally.
Mangat will partner with Joseph Kamya yet again. The crew will want to forget their flaws from 2017; dropping out in the last stage despite being in a lead.
Ponsiano Lwakatata/Samuel Mugisha – Subaru N8
The outspoken former NRC champion comes up against the latest breed of cars versus his Subaru N8.
Lwakataka will have to fight his way up this weekend.
Susan Muwonge/Edwin Kyeyune – Subaru N12
The former champion will be in the top fight with the male drivers.
In Mbarara, the former Muwonge will have to prove she is up to date with the current pace and contention. And that will be her target to keep within the top spot hence pulling off a challenge.
Hassan Alwi/Enoch Olinga – Subaru Impreza
Alwi can only forget about his misfortunes from the last season with a great start to the new season.
Alwi only finished two events last year. He will obviously be out to get the money off his back with a top spot in Mbarara.
Adam Essa Rauf/George Semakula – Evo X
Being his return to the NRC, Rauf would only desire a top position to make a remarkable return.
The driver still has good memories of Mbarara rally and he will have a chance to make it live again with a finish in the top spot.
Meanwhile, the NRC season opener action will further go down among crews that target for top ten finish.
Jonas Kasiime, who is returning from sabbatical can only go for a top ten position in Mbarara. The same target will apply to Andy Musoke, Kepher Walubi amd Fred Busulwa.
The Two-wheel drive category will stage it’s show with Sadat Negomba, Yasin Mukasa, Charles Ssansa, Edwin Kalule, Musa Mulimira among others.
Who will come top in the 2018 NRC season opener?