A thrilling battle is in prospect when African rally king Mohammed Essa of Zambia goes head-to-head with Ugandan champion Jas Mangat at Lubiri double circuit track this Sunday in the Mbarara Motor Club (MMC) organised sprint, writes Moses Mugalu. Essa, who was recently crowned 2012 African Rally Championship (ARC) winner, is one of the guest drivers to spice up the event. However, Essa's highly billed participation has created anxiousness among top local drivers including 2012 Ugandan champion Mangat .
This is the second time the two drivers face off in five months at Lubiri. In July, Essa was in Kampala for the 2012 Pearl of Africa Rally, which he won to seal his maiden continental (ARC) title triumph. Mangat finished runner-up.
And after his famous victory, the 23-year-old Zambian joked that apart from Mangat, he "did not see any other competitor in the race." Forty-four drivers had by yesterday confirmed participation in the sprint, which is the penultimate calendar event of the season.
Ronald Ssebuguzi, Ponsiano Lwakataka, Susan 'Super Lady' Muwonge and Dr Ahmed Ashraf are among the top competitors who will lead the local challenge against the foreign legion.
The other foreign drivers in the event include Rwanda's Christakis Fitidis and Elefterois Mitraros, Tanzanian lady Eline Vooijs, Kenya's Asad Anwar and Stella Macharia plus two Burundian crews.
Steven Okong, a rally secretariat official and spokesman of the event, remarked yesterday: "Based on the names on the entry list, this promises to be a fantastic experience."
Local drivers, both in the NRC and CRC categories, will score championship points in the event.