By Reynolds Kibira Kadok on July 14th 01:45 pm
Very early in the day Lwakataka had hoped to show Duncan “Kikankane” Mubiru that he’s only doing what he’s doing due to Lwakataka’s recent absence in the sport. There was also a battle of the evos vs the subarus with Ronald Ssebuguzi Evo.9, Wyclif Bukenya Evo.9, Unisan Bakunda Evo.7, Godfrey Nsamba Evo.5 and even Kenyan Jaspreet Chatthe daring Kikankane’s Subaru N14, Mangat, Fitidis, Essa’s N12 and the numerous N10s and 8’s.
There was also an anticipated battle between Wyclif Bukenya and Christakis Fitidis with the former seeing this edition as his best chance to win before contemplating retirement as age seems to be asking too many questions of him. The former who also is in a race against age had opted to drive in Uganda with a sole target of winning the prestigious Pearl Rally and all his focus in the last 6 months since moving from Rwanda were on that. However, their rivalry has been formed by their youthful adrenalin amidst the advanced age.
But may be the most special one this season has been between Duncan Mubiru against Fitidis. This has its birth in Masaka early in March when Fitidis thought he did not win that rally due to Duncan’s fans kept blocking his advance. This continued in Masaka 2 organised by UMC and the most recent was in a Lubiri circuit where their disagreement forced the stewards meeting to call for an extraordinary meeting a day after the rally to retrieve times from the clocks. Still Fitidis lost to Duncan.
It is all this that had created the fever for the Pearl Rally with each viewing this stage as the ultimate showdown and the fans could feel it like a contagious epidemic going into the sections having left Lubiri not contented. Several other rivalries that had shaped the build up to the rally were e.g. Consta vs Albert Ofong, Susan Muwonge vs the men and of course local drivers wanting to retain the title against the foreign drivers who have always beaten us on our own tuff.
However, the rugged route did not give a chance to all these rivalries to take shape and as we complete day 1 (Lubiri + all of today) fans have a tongue in cheek for the federation for denying them this action. One fan on tweeter Dusty Yusuf Bukenya sent FMU to hell and has put it on its head should the rally be lost to a foreigner. In him, reads the several feelings of fans who were visibly disappointed by the rate of retirement by favorite drivers right from CS3. Fred Wampamba, Godfrey Nsamba, Jamil Kyengo, Satvinder Singh Saini, John Consta, Wyclif Bukenya, Ponsiano Lwakataka, Duncan Mubiru and Christakis Fitidis did not survive the day, while the likes of Ronald Ssebuguzi, Jaspreet Chatthe were bogged with several mechanical issues but they had big hearts and of course the luck to complete the day.
However, it is not all doom and gloom as 15 cars will start day 2 tomorrow out of the 28 that started the rally. Fan favorite Jas Mangat, Ronald Ssebuguzi and Susan Muwonge will continue to fight off Mohammed Essa and Giancarlo Davite and hope against hope that one of them keeps the Pearl pride. Of course, comments from the sections seem to suggest Essa took all the rest to some form of schooling with his hissing N12 but we all know what Mangat can do on home tuff while Susan will continue to depend on her strategic approach as opposed to the men’s virtuoso of shear forcefulness.
Therefore, come on you all and liven up the final league of this rally on Sunday