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Surprise package in motor rallying

By Vision Reporter

Added 21st December 2010 03:00 AM

IN the end a cautious Nasser Mutebi slipped away with the 2010 national motor rally championship as big guns—Jas Mangat, Ronald Ssebuguzi and Ponsiano Lwakataka roared but fell short on the score-board.

IN the end a cautious Nasser Mutebi slipped away with the 2010 national motor rally championship as big guns—Jas Mangat, Ronald Ssebuguzi and Ponsiano Lwakataka roared but fell short on the score-board.

By Douglas Mazune

RALLY: 2010 YEAR REVIEW

IN the end a cautious Nasser Mutebi slipped away with the 2010 national motor rally championship as big guns—Jas Mangat, Ronald Ssebuguzi and Ponsiano Lwakataka roared but fell short on the score-board.

Without a win under his belt, Mutebi topped the chart for the better part of the championship and went on to easily capture the crown in just his second season as title rivals were embroiled in a dispute.

Mutebi became the first Uganda national champion to claim the title without winning any race. In some circles he has not been perceived as a true champion arguing that racing is about pace and not caution. Bob Robert’s navigator and United Motorsport Club (UMOSPOC) technical official Justin Mungoma disagrees with this school of thought.

“Winning a championship is about being able to accumulate the biggest number of points. Mutebi showed maturity and he is a true champion,” Mungoma argued.

Anti-climax:
With all championship con¬tenders within title reach, the Independence rally, the ultimate round of the 2010 championship had promised to be a thrilling title decider but it never was.

Fans were denied a contest amongst Mutebi, Ssebuguzi, Mangat and Lwakataka fol¬lowing the Jinja rally controversy in which the eventual winner Lwakataka’s results in one of the sections were questioned. Lwakataka was later cleared by a probe com¬missioned by national motorsport governing body, FMU.

Ssebuguzi and Mangat quit the title race for Lwakataka to win the Independence rally, his third victory of the season as Mutebi clinched the national championship.

Mutebi strategy
In an inferior Subaru N4 rookie Mutebi wisely desisted from taking on the more experienced drivers in much better cars and it paid off. He targeted podium positions, an achievable undertaking he consistently meet and clung atop the champi¬onship table to beat mighty rivals to the 2010 title.

Mutebi’s strategy has been proven in the African championship as former champions of the 1990s Charles Muhangi of Uganda and Zambian Satwant Singh can attest. On that the former African champions bagged maximum points.

Mangat enters the mix
It was never Mangat’s intention to contest for the 2010 championship. Coming off a failed Africa Championship bid which tumbled mid-season, Mangat returned home and naturally he had to participate in local events.

He won back-to-back races—the UMOSPOC Challenge and UMC Challenge rallies to get within title reach with 200 points as Ssebuguzi and Lwakataka dropped out of events for winless Mutebi to hold onto the lead.

He would have gone all the way had it not been for the Jinja rally controversy.

Open champ surprises
That Mutebi won the national championship just in his second season continues to vindicate FMU’s 2008 decision to open up the national championship to Clubman Rally Championship (CRC) drivers.

The 2009 champion Ahmed Ashraf was the first beneficiary, becoming the first CRC driver to win the national championship. Rookie drivers emerge with competitive cars and aim to win which has made the national championship more competitive.

CRC Championship
Rookie Peter Kakaire busked his share of glory when he added the MOSAC Gulu Rally to his Clubman Rally Championship title.

2011 expectations
The zeal exhibited the close of the season signals a tight contest amongst seasoned drivers in the 2011 national championship.

Mutebi needs a more powerful car before he even thinks of attempting to retain the national championship.

Surprise package in motor rallying

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