Uganda rally drivers testify on Safari Rally toughness

Christakis Fitidis during the Safari Rally flag off

The five Ugandan crews that took part in the weekend Safari Rally were tested by the toughness of rally.

The crew of Kepher Walubi, Hassan Alwi, Christakis Fitidis and Yasin Nasser settled for positions 23, 24, 25 and 26 respectively. Duncan Mubiru retired in the sixth stage.

The teams faced some of the fastest drivers in the region and also a totally different terrain from what they have been used to.

At the end of day one, the four crews were handed a ten minute penalty for deviating in stage five.

That forced Mubiru, Fitidis, Alwi and Nasser down the board and out of the top twenty positions.

However, it was Duncan Mubiru who felt most affected by the penalty and forced himself out of the rally.

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Duncan Mubiru at Safari Rally flag off

“If the ten minute penalty has not been changed, then I have no reason why I should continue with the rally and break my car for nothing.

“I wanted to finish in good positions but it’s very impossible with such a penalty,” said Mubiru at the morning parc ferme into the final day.

The rest of the crews continued with the race which eventually became a milestone in their lives.

Despite taking on the Safari before, the crew of Fitidis and Eric Nzamwita saw a much different event.

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Christakis Fitidis during one of the Safari Rally stages

“We were here before for Safari, but I am telling you this is the most challenging Safari we have done.

“The roads had everything. From too much roughness, smooth, twist and the dust worsened it for us since we were placed behind some slow cars,” explains Nzamwita.

For Walubi and Susan Kalema, it was an entirely fulfilling experience.

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Kepher Walubi

“We are glad we finished the event, otherwise we wouldn’t have experienced the most important part – endurance.

“Safari is very tough and challenging. These roads were new to us and we believe to have come out with a good experience that will help us in other events,” said Walubi’s co-driver Susan Kalema.

Yasin Nasser and Ali Katumba were also hit by the Safari rally toughness.

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Yasin Nasser during the Safari Rally

“We knew it was not going to be an easy rally from recce. The routes proved to be tricky on us, totally different from what we are used to, no wonder we were among the victims of the ten minutes penalty.

“We had mechanical issues in the last stages, but we are glad we took part and finished,” said Nasser.

For Alwi’s co-driver Enoch Olinga, Safari Rally was a dream come true.

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Hassan Alwi

“Putting aside what we have gone through, the event has made my dream come true. Have always wanted to be part of the Safari rally challenge and here I am, can testify to the toughness now,” said Olinga.

Meanwhile, all the five Ugandan crews were Africa Rally Championship contenders, but non scored ARC points after finishing outside the top ten.