By Andrew Irumba
Rally ace Rajiv Ruparelia, who is son of Kampala tycoon Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, has promised to return on the rally track, after his car developed a technical problem and crashed as he raced on Day Two of the Mbarara Rally.
Rajiv hoped out of the rally after his Polo WRC Proto Car suffered a major breakdown on one of the hind tires, eventually crippling him during super stage 4 of 5 stages.
But prior to crashing Rajiv had won day one of the rally, after he beat his closest rival Ponsiano Lwakataka by 44 seconds and 50 microseconds, plus a whole 3 minutes, 4 seconds and 50 microseconds ahead of Duncan Mubiru, who eventually won the rally.
Rajiv’s back up Team and management also vowed an even stronger comeback in the next National Rally Championship Race, following what the team called a “technical difficulty” that made them “unable to complete the 2nd last stage of Day 2 in Mbarara.”
The Management on Sunday released a statement about his health condition, in which they revealed that he and his navigator were out of danger.
The Statement reads in part thus; “The Driver, Rajiv Ruparelia and Navigator, Enoch Olinga are in good condition.
“We would like to officially thank all the fans, RR Team, organisers, and sponsors for the full support of the well-organised Rukaari Mbarara Rally 2020. We hope to come back even stronger.”
At the time he was forced out of the race by the technical breakdown, he was a wide 3 minutes, 4 seconds and 50 microseconds ahead of Duncan Mubiru, the eventual winner of the rally.
Lwakataka too, would later crash out during stage five, paving way for Duncan Mubiru to win the rally.
Rajiv and his co-driver, Olinga, had easily won day one too, winning 2 of 3 stages, bagging a total race time of 13 minutes, 17 seconds and 74 microseconds, in the NRC season opener.
This was 13 seconds ahead of Ponsiano Lwakataka / Paul Musaazi who came second, with 13:31.04, followed by Duncan Mubiru / Musa Nsubuga (13:55.86); Ronald Sebuguzi / Anthony Mugamba (13:56.24) and Omar Mayanja / Hussein Mukuye (14:23.84).
However, the reigning NRC champion Yasin Nasser, last season’s event winner Jas Mangat as well as 2015 champion Arthur Blick were notably missing at this year’s season-opening rally.
Although Rajiv entered rallying late in May 2019, the 30-year-old driver has already made a mark on the rallying scene with his stunning performances and victories.