By Douglas Mazune
2013 NRC standings
J. Mangat 535 points
R. Ssebuguzi 236
JAS Mangat sealed the 2013 National Rally Championship at the Independence Rally over the weekend raising hopes that his Subaru N12 can complete a season double.
“I came here just to finish the rally and I am glad I won. It was also very important to test the car as we prepare for Madagascar,” Mangat remarked, ending speculation that he had fixed the Mitsubishi Evo X which had an engine failure in the Rwanda Rally last month.
The Pili Pili Rally Team driver who leads the Africa championship with 83 points, just two clear of Zambian Jassy Singh, will battle for the continental title in Madagascar next month.
If he wins the Africa title, Mangat will become the second Ugandan driver after Charles Muhangi (1999) to claim continental silverware. Mangat is on the verge of becoming the first Ugandan to hold both the national and Africa titles.
Season’s turning point
The national championship was tight until the Pearl of Africa Rally which Mangat won to open up a sizeable lead that left Ronald Ssebuguzi as the only challenger.
When Mangat extended his lead after the Eastern Rally victory, Ssebuguzi still hang in there but with only a mathematical chance.
Not convinced he could turn tables, Ssebuguzi only competed in the super special stage in Mukono and surrendered. Ponsiano Lwakataka and Christakis Fitidis were on the entry list but did not show up and the level of competition was not helped by Shafiq Ssemuju’s failure to continue with the second leg.
Both Vik Saini and John Consta Karumuna contested, won some sections but couldn’t stop Mangat.