Yassin Nasser, co-driver Ali Katumba end one of Uganda’s sweet rally stories

Ali Katumba and Yassin Nasser pose for a photo moment after winning the Jinja Rally

MOTORSPORT Yassin Nasser, co-driver Ali Katumba end one of Uganda’s sweet rally stories

Shafic Kiyaga 14:50 - 04.10.2023

Katumba joined MOIL Rally team in 2016, marking his debut rally with Nasser during the Mountains of the Moon Rally in Fort Portal, finishing 14th, but leaves having guided him to two national titles and on the cusp of an African title.

Two-time Uganda National Rally Champion Yasin Nasser has conveyed a heartfelt decision to end his relationship with longstanding Co-Driver, Ali Katumba.

The ‘sad decision’ according to the team comes ahead of a crucial period for the team, with the end of the rally carlendar nigh.

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According to a statement from the team, Katumba’s personal commitments have made it impossible for the two to continue.

“We are sad to announce that we shall not be teaming up with our long time Co-Driver Ali Katumba for the Upcoming events due to personal commitments,” a statement read.

“Words cannot express how much Ali has helped grow the team and have the team be where it is today!”

“We have shared numerous laughs and good moments together along with sharing the occasional downs too!” the statement continued.

Yasin Nasser and co-driver Ali Katumba push their Ford Fiesta R5 during a recent rally | Photo Credit: Courtesy

Katumba's contribution to the MOIL Rally Team has been immeasurable, helping Nasser silence doubters, winning two national titles (2019 and 2023) and he leaves on the cusp of history.

The MOIL Rally team is still in contention of two championships, having already sealed the Uganda title with two rallies to spare.

They are top of the Africa Rally Championship (ARC) standings with two rallies to go, as well as the Tanzania National Rally Championship.

Yasin Nasser and with Ali Katumba | Courtesy Image

Should Nasser see out victory of the two championships, he will become the first man ever to win the three championships in the same year, and only the second Uganda driver to win the African title.

The late Moses Muhangi was the last Ugandan winner of the ARC, 24 years ago in 1999.

"Thank you so much Ali for the good moments, the achievements, for the laughs, and everything we have shared as a team,” the team said.

“MOIL Rally Team will always have a space for you! We wish you all the best and Thank You once again.”

Yasin Nasser and Co-driver Ali Katumba attempt the qualifying stage at the 2023 Pearl of Africa Rally

“Meanwhile, the new team member shall be announced in due course,” the statement continued.

Katumba is one of the most decorated and experienced co drivers, with meticulous planning. He has failed to finish only 14 rallies he has competed in since 2012.

Katumba joined MOIL Rally team in 2016, marking his debut rally with Nasser during the Mountains of the Moon Rally in Fort Portal, finishing 14th.

Yasin Nasser and Ali Katumba pose for a photo with their car | Photo Credit: Courtesy

The two would build their relationship and understanding in the cockpit, eventually securing their first podium during the CMC Challenge Rally in Mukono.

They would record two further podiums, finishing second in the Pearl of Africa Rally, and third in Fort Portal.

Their first victory together would deliver double joy as it confirmed their first National Championship together.

Nasser and Katumba’s momentum was affected by the advent of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but 2021, would deliver two more podiums in the Africa Rally Championship.

Ugandan crew of Yasin Nasser and Ali Katumba are the current leaders of the Africa Rally Championship (ARC) | Photo Credit: Courtesy

The crew finished third in the Rally of Tanzania and again third in the Sarago Zambia International Rally.

And at the end of the 2021 season, they reached another milestone, securing their first victory in the ARC when they won Rally South Africa.

The victory was not enough to see them secure the African title, but became the first Ugandan crew since 1999 to win a championship on the continent, having won the ARC 2 crown.

2022 saw Nasser and Katumba push for the ARC title, but fell short to Zambian Leroy Gomes, while Jas Mangat beat them to the ARC 2 title that year.

But the end of the year saw a change that has been the catalyst for an ultra dominant season in 2023, with the acquisition of the Ford Fiesta Rally2.

Making its debut in December 2022, at the Champions Sprint, subsequent victory set the crew rolling to a run of successful rallies.

Nasser and Katumba have been on the podium in all but two of the 10 rallies they have competed in.

Seven of those have been outright victories in the Uganda, Tanzania and the African rally championships, with their run halted by a troubled run at the Mountain Gorilla Rally in Rwanda last month.