Fast-rising driver Jonas Kansiime takes on experienced Ronald Ssebuguzi in a battle that pits Subaru against Mitsubishi as the pair fights for national rally championship (NRC) points, writes Moses Mugalu.
At the beginning of the 2014 season, Jonas Kansiime was simply one of the exciting rookies in local motorsport but he has evolved into a championship title contender over the last six months.
In the last three major NRC events, Kansiime triumphed in Jinja Rally, finished fifth and third in Mbarara and MPU rallies respectively. He has collected 208 points (including eight points from the MarshallsFMU sprint event last month), trailing current NRC title race leader Ronald Ssebuguzi by 43 points.
It’s against such background that the Subaru Impreza N10 driver will be at the centre of attraction when the Southern Motor Club (SMC) Rally flags off tomorrow with the super special sprint stage at Festino Cite double track in Mukono.
In what promises to be a thrilling fourth round of the 2014 championship, Kansiime will chase Ssebuguzi (in a Mitsubishi Evo IX), who opens the route by virtue of championship leader status and have more seeding points. Ssebuguzi beat Kansiime to triumph in the sprint event at Busiika last month but the youngster feels it’s his turn to revenge in the SMC Rally.
“I have a very good chance and I’m ready for my second NRC victory,” Kansiime stated in an interview yesterday.
The 25-year-old driver has also had his chances boosted by the absence of Duncan ‘Kikankane’ Mubiru, who opted out of the SMC event to concentrate on his preps for the Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally due next weekend. Mubiru (with 185 points) is Kansiime’s closest rival in the NRC title race and his presence in the rally automatically piles on the pressure.
That said, Kansiime faces not only Ssebuguzi but a number of other top drivers including Dr Ahmed Ashraf, Shafiq Ssemujju, Omar Mayanja, Leila Blick Mayanja and Wycliffe Bukenya. The 2013 champion Jas Mangat’s participation in the rally was in balance yesterday as mechanics were still working his car. Mangat has not competed in any event this season but his entry in this event sets a prospective late charge from the champion in an attempt to defend the NRC title.
Last year’s winner, Ponsiono Lwakataka, is not competing this time after troubles in his private businesses have locked him out of rallying. After the sprint at Festino Cite, drivers will go for competitive sections in parts of Busiika and Luweero on Sunday.
Source : The Observer