Ronald Ssebuguzi. Courtesy photo
Uganda’s crew at the Safari Rally
*Yasin Nasser & Ali Katumba
*Ronald Ssebuguzi & Anthony Mugambwa
*Duncan Mubiru & Umar Mayanja
*Hassan Alwi & James Mwangi
*Kepher Walubi & Siraje Kyambadde
Five Ugandan rally crews are set to race at the prestigious FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) that makes a return to the African continent at the legendary Safari Rally Kenya.
The coveted WRC, slated for June 24-27, returns for the first time in over two decades at the famed terrains of Naivasha and its suburbs.
The five crews to represent Uganda include Kepher Walubi/Siraje Kyambadde, Hassan Alwi/James Mwangi, Duncan ‘Kikankane’ Mubiru/Umar Mayanja and Yasin Nasser/Ali Katumba will rub shoulders with the world’s cream dela crem.
The race has attracted the likes of Seven time WRC Champion Sebastien Oiger, Ott Tank, Theiry Neuville, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera.
However, much focus for Ugandans will be levelled towards three-time National Rally Champion ( NRC) Ronald Ssebuguzi.
Navigated by Anthony Mugambwa, Ssebuguzi is optimistic that Ugandans will put up a spirited show ” amongst the very best in the world”.
“This is a chance for us to show our potential amongst the very best in the world, ” Said Ssebuguzi after receiving a Shs 25m boost for the event from Vivo Energy.
With no WRC points to score, Ssebuguzi and his fellow Ugandans will be jostling for Pride and experience in a special African category.
Ducan Mubiru ” Kikakane” states that it is foolhardy to state that Ugandans can out class World household names like the likes of Sebastien Oiger.
“Realistically it would be dreaming, if any of our crews said, they are going to compete with the likes of Sebastien Oiger, Elfyn Evans or Ott Tank, who have the budgets, the cars and experience,” Kikakane stated.
Kikakane’s plans of having a successful event were dented after he travelled without co-driver Musa Nsubuga.
The latter was locked down in Mbarara after President Museveni’s imposed fresh lockdown measures, that among others, restricted inter-district travel.
And experienced rally driver Omar Mayanja has dumped his roles as Kikakane’s manager and will instead fare in the co-driver bucket seat.
This event will see the Safari Rally of old evolve into a modern-day WRC event. But its character shall remain intact with challenging closed dirt roads, stunning picture-postcard scenery and exotic wildlife.
The Ugandan competitors, who are already in Kenya for acclimatisation and recceing, can expect rocky and rutted tracks, and unpredictable weather which could transform dry and dusty trails into glutinous mud-baths.