Burundian Valery Bukera (inset) is leading the Mt Gorilla rally after day one. (Timothy Kisambira)
Bukera, who was driving a Subaru Impreza N11, combined speed and accuracy to benefit from his strategic navigator Nital Khetia, with the pair visibly looking comfortable on the course that was dominated by sharp corners especially in Super Stage Golden Tulip.
?We did well and are proud of our performance. We want to continue from here tomorrow (today) but it will not be easy because it is eight stages. We hope to finish at the end of the day because you never know with technical problems,? said Bukera.
He however, will face tough opposition from the reigning Rwandan national champion Davite Giancarlo who is on familiar ground. ?I know the second route very well so it is an advantage,? admitted Giancarlo who will be eyeing home victory as he is not competing in this year?s African Rally Championship (ARC).
Meanwhile, for Kenyan Jaspreet Chatte and Jassy Singh of Zambia, it will be a battle for ARC points with the duo hoping to edge either for points? advantage with only two remaining events on the continental calendar ? Pearl of Africa rally in Uganda and the Madagascar international rally.
Chatte currently leads the drivers? table standings with 50 points while Singh has 36 points with either hoping to earn maximum points in a bid to clinch the African title which the latter won in 2013 at the age of 20.
Today?s race is comprised of eight stages including the first one from Ndera to Rugende, Gahengeri to Mwurire which will be done twice before they embark on Nyagasambu to Musha and Mwurire to Gahengeri which will also be done twice. The total distance is 156.20km.
Meanwhile, Ugandan driver Fred Busuulwa/Hakim Mawanda has pulled out of today?s event after his car caught fire after a technical problem with his engine.
Valery Bukera/Nital Khetia 10:04
Davite Giancarlo/Sylvia Vindevogel 10:31
Jaspreet Chatte/Craig Thorley 10:45
Jassy Singh/Dave Sihoka 10:52
Desh Kananura/Moses Matovu 11:36
By Usher Komugisha, The New Times