As the 2019 Shell V-Power Pearl of Africa rally draws closer, Ugandan drivers have intensified preparations for the fourth round of National Rally Championship (NRC) and also the fifth round of African Rally Championship (ARC) event.
John Barrows Lumu and his navigator Ahmed Dungu of JB Rally team is one of the 51 crews that confirmed participation in the much anticipated rally set for this weekend, August 2-3 in Kayunga district, starting with a circuit at Busiika race track.
Barrows unveiled his brand new Subaru N14 monster ride to his fans on Saturday at Verocity bar and restaurant Kyanja.
The driver, who started rallying in 2010 is upgrading from a Subaru N8 with the new ride valued between Shs200 and Shs300m.
“I have taken two months working on the car to the best since its arrival in Uganda from England. I have added strong machinery and it is now ready to get on track. I have driven Subaru since I started racing and I have competed with my former Subaru N8 car for the last six years. I want to go for a top ten finish in this year’s Pearl rally,” noted Barrows, who is born to former rally driver John Barrows Snr (RIP).
Having not impressed in Masaka and Mukono during the two rallies he has partaken this year, Barrows hopes to use the remaining NRC outings to test and learn the car thoroughly so as to compete for NRC title next season.
Barrows best finish at the Pearl Rally was in 2011 when he finished 11th but believes with sponsorship from Nicole Associates and First Lane auto engineers, the best is yet to come.
Unlike past editions, this year’s Shell V-Power Pearl of Africa rally has attracted only two foreign crews; defending champion Manvr Baryan from Kenya and Dharam Pandya from Tanzania, who will be making his debut in the competition.
Current ARC leader Manvir Baryan with Sturrock in Scoda Fabia and current NRC leader Ronald Ssebuguzi with Leon Ssenyange in Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X are expected to lead the battle for honors in the rally that opens with a 4.36km super special stage in Busiika before doing four repeated stages in Kayunga totaling to 210KMs.
2018 Pearl top five finishes:
1. Manvir Baryan 2.26.03.1
2. Ronald Ssebuguzi 126.96.36.199
3. Jas Mangat 2.37.05.1
4. Hassan Alwi 43.04.3
5. Suzan Muwonge 188.8.131.52