Lwakataka flies into early lead in Masaka

Ponsiano Lwakataka navigates a corner during a recent event | Courtesy photo

MOTORSPORT Lwakataka flies into early lead in Masaka

Shafic Kiyaga 20:26 - 12.08.2023

On the gravel stages though, Lwakataka pushed his Subaru Impreza to another stage victory through the 12.6 km stage, extending his lead to eight seconds.

Ponsiano Lwakataka produced a committed run through Saturday’s opening leg of the Southern Motor Club organized Masaka Rally to hold an overnight advantage over rival Yasin Nasser.

The hometown hero got his charge off to the best possible start by winning the Saturday morning’s opening stage 27 km stage, four seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

Initially, there was confussion over the section times produced, with recorded times indicating that Lwakataka’s Subaru Impreza N12B was three minutes faster than Nasser’s Ford Fiesta R5.

But the event organizers had to re inspect the recorded times, reportedly also checking the tracking data to determine the best possible time for the stage.

On the gravel stages though, Lwakataka pushed his Subaru Impreza to another stage victory through the 12.6 km stage, extending his lead to eight seconds.

Nasser and other rivals Duncan Mubiru ‘Kikankane’ and Ronald Ssebuguzi searched or answers on how to stop his charge.

Nasser bounced back with a reply to the Mafu Mafu rally team driver, cutting his lead by only eight seconds, as the crews arrived to the mid-morning service.

Nasser would further cut down small bits of the rally leader’s advantage through the two passes of the 3.4 km super special stage, bringing his overnight rally lead to 16 seconds.

Ssebuguzi completed the day in third place, clocking the third fastest time in three of the four stages, to finish the day 16 seconds behind Nasser, and 33.50 seconds behind Lwakataka.

Kikankane had a strong start to the rally, and was lying second overall after two stages, but car trouble in the third section, saw him take a 17-minute penalty to end the day 13th overall.

Peter Kalule completed Saturday’s challenge in fourth overall, and is on course for his best ever rally finish.

Joshua Muwanguzi, in the Subaru Impreza N12, is top of the Clubman Rally Championship category after the first day, 47 seconds ahead of Godfrey Kiyimba, despite taking a 20 second penalty, and lies fifth overall.

Ibrahim Lubega ‘Pasuwa’ is on course to secure his second the two-wheel drive (2WD) championship, but he will have to catch Mansoor Lubega 53 second overnight lead.

The rally has already claimed several casualties. Muhamad Bweete could not start in the morning, but worked on his car to take part in the super special stage, and will restart from 18th on Sunday.

Guest driver Stefano Valeri did not also see the end of the day, after his car lost power before the start of the second run of the super special stage.

Ahmed Mayanja and Samuel Watendwa are the other causalities from the first day, but they will restart the rally on Sunday.

The Masaka rally will conclude with the second day on Sunday, as the crews attempt a second pass through the opening three stages of the rally, with a total competitive distance of just over 50 kilometres, as many await whether Lwakataka can match his pace from Saturday.