A host crew of foreign drivers led by World Rally Championship (Safari Rally) winner in 1994 Ian Duncan have Wednesday finished day one of the 2013 VPower Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally route testing.
Veteran Kenyan rally Duncan arrived in Kampala on Tuesday evening will drive a Ford Capri in Uganda’s most prestigious race in which he last took part in 2009.
“The organisers gave us a good deal and decided to test my machine,” the first batch of the drivers told our reporter on Wednesday noon.
The four-man Kenyan crew of Izhar ‘Coast Pekee’, who will be navigated by Kavit Dave and Ian Duncan, who will have Amaar Slatch in his cockpit. Zambian teenager Jessy Singh in a Subaru N10 is navigated by veteran Dave Sihoka while his compatriot Muhammad Essa the VPower Pearl of Africa Uganda rally winner 2012 is helped by Greg Stead.
Rwanda will be represented by Gaincarlo Davite and co-driver Sylvia Vinlvogel alone after Elfterios Mitraros blew his Subaru N10 engine while testing in Kigali on Sunday.
Already 43 drivers have confirmed by FIA to take part in the event which starts on Friday at Lubiri where two sections of the ten sections of the rally will be held before the eight competitive sections in Zirobwe on Saturday and return to Kampala for the ceremonial finish on Sunday. The Pearl rally is the sixth round of the African Rally Championship (ARC).
The recceing for the foreign crews continue until Thursday evening.
Uganda’s Jas Mangat who drives a powerful Mitsubishi Evo10 leads both the national and African Rally Championship log with 58 points is top favourite to win this rally while his close competitor Essa on 50 points will also stage a big fight.
Mangat will be flagged off first according to a provisional start list this paper has seen followed by reigning continental champions Essa.
Uganda’s Ronald Ssebuguzi will take off third while Zambian Jassy Singh and Kenyan champion Carl Tundo are fourth and fifth respectively in what should be a mouthwatering contest upfront.
Christakis Fitidis, Rwanda’s Davite Giancarlo and 2011 Pearl Rally winner Ponsiano Lwakataka will hit the road sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.