By Douglas Mazune
NATIONAL champion Jas Mangat, who went route reccing for KCB Kajiado Rally in Nairobi yesterday, was surprised by the absence of Kenya ace driver Alastair Cavengah.
Cavengah, a regular contender for the national title, opted out of the opening round of the Kenya National Rally Championship that takes place on Sunday.
"I haven't seen Cavengah on the entry-list. He's one of the competitors I expected to put up a big fight," Mangat told New Vision Sport.
Even then, Ian Duncan, national champion Carl Tundo and many other competitive drivers are in the race.
The Air Uganda sponsored Mangat, who will be flagged off sixth, was impressed by the tight schedule of the race.
"The programme makes my pursuit of both the Kenya and Uganda national titles manageable in terms of time," the driver added.
" I will simply take three days away from office and will be done with the rally preparation and the race itself. Route recce takes just one day, scrutineering of the car is done the next day and on the third you race. On Monday I will be back to work."
The race which has 55 crews will have six competitive stages with the shortest being 24km while the longest is 44km.
Meanwhile, Uganda's 2013 season gets underway this Sunday with the Premier Sprint that will be held at Lubiri.
Competitors will use the sprint to test their cars ahead of the opening National Rally Championship event in Mbarara due February 8-10.
The Mbarara route design is complete and some crews that are already in Western Uganda doing route recce will return tonight. They will compete in the sprint and return for final route recce next weekend. The Mbarara Rally is quite popular.