Omar Mayanja bore a face of relief and with much to smile about at the end of the Mbarara rally on the weekend.
After finishing day one in fifth position, Mayanja and co-driver Hussein Mukuye in the Mitsubishi Evo X were hit by mechanical mishaps in the Sunday’s morning stage losing 15 minutes.
The 2017 Mbarara Rally winner continued to face challenges but a podium finish was everything he least expected.
They settled for a comfortable third position overall.
“The car broke both shocks in the first stage where we lost alot of time. We replaced the shocks but there was more damage, so even with shocks working, it was still scraping the ground and literally excavating whenever it jumped.
“I thought the best we could manage was fifth. Indeed the only way we got the podium is through late retirements of the two leaders,” explained the Shell driver.
Despite all the troubles, Mayanja managed to land a stage win.
“We nursed the car through two more stages and back to service. More repairs were done and we could now go flat out but still not jump.
“The last stage had the fewest jumps but was super fast and flowing. And nobody does it better on such stages. Our power unit was also troubled by a cooling issue but this stage didn’t have steep climbing so we could gun it for a stage win,” he added.
With seventy points in the bag, Mayanja hopes for better fortunes for the season.
“I don’t have a specific season target. My objective is to give mileage to my sponsors (Shell) by starting and finishing all rallies.
“A top eight position on every event and podiums whenever possible. I feel we have what it takes to maintain the performance,” he asserted.
Duncan Mubiru secured the Mbarara rally victory followed by Fred Busulwa.