Ponsiano Lwakataka and Paul Musaazi clinched the season-opening event in Mbarara to launch their intent for this year’s National Rally Championship.
Despite a challenging start to the event, Lwakataka driving a Subaru Impreza was two minutes behind Arthur Blick at the end of leg one.
Lwakataka however started leg two more resolute while his rivals Arthur Blick Jr, Ronald Sebuguzi, and reigning NRC champion Duncan Mubiru dropped off.
Lwakataka scooped five of the eight stages to register the first victory of the season.
“The event didn’t start well for us. We had a mechanical problem at the beginning of the first stage. Luckily we got to the service and the mechanics did a great job to get us back for day two.
“Blick proved to be my only challenger for the victory, unfortunately, he dropped out and I couldn’t have a fight with him as I wanted,” said Lwakataka.
The two-time national rally champion made mention of his intentions for this year’s title.
“I am here to win a title. Since all my two times come from the old regime, I need a title with the current gem of drivers and prove to them that I still have the gas.
“My only challenge is sponsorship at the moment, but my team is ready for the challenge ahead.
“My other wish is to have all the top drivers to come and participate and we have an exciting competition for our fans,” he added.
Fred Busulwa and Joseph Bongole managed to take second place despite being 7 minutes and 38 seconds behind.
“The last Mbarara rally I finished second and it is the same this year. This should prove that I am back to fight for the championship again,” said Busulwa.
Aine Sodo in a Mitsubishi Evo9 sealed the podium places coming in third. This was Sodo’s best career finish. He also topped the division two category.
Edward Kirumira and Robert Katabalwa as well registered their best finish with fourth overall and a win in a two-wheel drive category.
Mark Lubega and Daniel Mbabazi sealed the top five positions of the event.
The Mbarara rally claimed several crews with mechanical issues including the day one leader and others.
The second round of the NRC is scheduled for March 11-13 in Jinja.