By Spy Uganda
Yasin Nasser and Ali Katumba have claimed the lead of the Africa Rally Championship (ARC) after winning the 24th edition of the Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally 2023 in a Ford Fiesta Rally2. They beat off stiff competition from Kenya’s Rio Smith/Riyaz Ismail and fellow countrymen Jas Mangat/Joseph Kamya to emerge victorious on Sunday, May 7, in Jinja.
“It was a challenging rally worth a smile at the end of the day, winning the ARC and finishing as third best locals in the NRC,” Nasser said.
“We are now looking forward to the Rally of Tanzania in July to strengthen our top position in the ARC.”
Nasser was second in the series’s round two, Equator Rally Kenya, in March.
Kenyan driver Rio Smith, navigated by Riyaz Ismail in a Subaru Impreza GVB, was equally thrilled with his second place, which granted him his first points in the ARC title race.
“It was an amazing experience, moving from a two-wheel-drive to a four-wheel drive car. We have enjoyed ourselves from start to finish and are glad to pick our first ARC points. Uganda has incredibly good, technical roads that have everything, and great fans,” he said.
Jas Mangat/Joseph Kamya, in a Mitsubishi Evo X like Nasser, had a difficult day after being handed a 20-minute penalty for missing out two competitive sections (Scoul 2- 18.45km and Edwin Kalule- 24.61km). But Mangat, winner of last year’s event, bounced back to finish third, seven minutes behind the winner.
Mangat said: “It was crucial to battle it out until the last hour, to bag vital points for Pearl and be ahead of Karen Patel ahead of round four Tanzania Rally in July.”
Unofficial results (ARC):
1. Yasin Nasser (UGA)/Ali Katumba (UGA), Ford Fiesta Rally2 2:40:41
2. Rio Smith (KEN)/Riyaz Ismail (KEN), Subaru Impreza GVB 2:47:50
3. Jas Mangat (UGA)/Joseph Kamya (UGA), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 2:47:53
4. Innocent Bwamiki (UGA)/Hamza Lwanga (UGA), Mitsubish Lancer Evo X 3:41:26.