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Karan Patel takes Day One lead at ARC Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally

Reigning African champion Karan Patel was peerless on Day One of the ARC Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally as crews stopped at the day’s overnight Parc Ferme at the Source of River Nile Hotel in Jinja.

Driving a Skoda Fabia R5 and navigated by compatriot Tauseef Khan, the 2022 Kenyan champion beat local favorite Jas Mangat (Hyundai 10) by +34.6 seconds after the opening leg of Uganda’s premier event on Saturday.

Karan led the opening day from the first to the closing stage winning all the six speed tests at stake.

Day One of the event covered 199.58kms of competitive mileage after early morning’s SS1 at Macarena and the closing SS8 were canceled. 

SS1 was cancelled due to safety concerns raised by FIA Safety Delegate whilst SS8 was removed as a result of the delays experienced earlier in the day, according to Tuta Mionki who is the chairperson of Stewards.

In the morning, all competitors were given an alternate road to SS2 Tadoooba 1 where action continued. The repeat run of Macarena was nevertheless held after the safety facet had been addressed by organizers led by Clerk of the Course Omar Mayanja.

Kenyan youngster Hamza Anwar aka “Problem Child”, on his very first outing at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5, delighted Ugandan spectators with occasional flashes of brilliance.

Hamza is driving an R5 contraption for the first time in his life, and the Kenyan 2023 Junior WRC contender didn’t disappoint behind Karan’s Skoda and the i20 Hyundai that local  Mangat will be running in the 2024 ARC season.

The top three (Karan, Mangat) drivers in the iconic Uganda fixture remained unmatched in the ARC category which has attracted six drivers.

Karan beat Mangat by 8.7 seconds and Hamza by 35.7 seconds in the 8.85km SS2 Tadoooba speed test. 

He then beat Mangat again, this time by 2.0seconds in the 18.85kms third test at Katushya in the outskirts of Jinja.

Karan was at it again on the repeat run of Macarena2 where he beat Mangat by 59.1second and Hamza by 1.32.1minutes.

He had already built a 1.21.1seconds lead over Mangat at the sixth test, the repeat run of Katushya2, where the latter posted 54:42.1 and Hamza 56:56.9.

Six FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) registered drivers are taking part in the Ugandan event. They are Mangat/Laurent Magat (Hyundai i20), Hamza/Adnan Din (Fiesta R5), and four Ugandans namely Mangat, Moustapha Mukasa/Lawrence Mwambazi (Evo9), Michael Jr Mukula/Edward Kiyingi (Subaru GBR) and Kuku Ranjit Singh/Tweranire (Evo9).

The six are the only ones scoring ARC points in the opening round of the continental series which has for the first time in many years excluded Ivory Coast’s Bandama Rallye for lack of a healthy ARC entry.

Friday’s itinerary saw the six ARC teams tackle the 6km Qualifying Stage at Bujagari where Karan set the quickest time of 3:39.8minutes and chose to start sixth on Leg One’s Start Order.

Mangat was the quickest driver through Friday afternoon’s Wairaka Shakedown (2.52km) where he beat Hamza by 10.1seconds as Karan returned third. 

Federation of Ugandan Clubs in Motorsports (FMU President James Akena thanked all officials for making this year’s event a success.

“We are trying to do our best and as you can see there is a lot of passion, and the difficulty we are having is how to manage this excitement and passion while also maintaining a level of safety. This is my first ARC and so far, it’s going well.”

 DAY ONE RESULTS-POAUR

1. #101 Karan Patel – Tauseef Khan (Škoda Fabia R5) 1:04:25.0

2. #17  Mangat Jas – Magat Laurent (Hyundai i20 R5) 1:04:59.6       

3.#102 Hamza Anwar – Adnan Din  (Ford Fiesta R5)   1:08:36.5

4. #80  Mike jnr. Mukula – Edward Kiyingi  (Subaru Impreza STi N14)  1:15:07.5

5. #100 Jonas  Kansiime – Bukenya Ronald (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII) 1:18:25.0

6. #91  Kuku Singh Ranjit – Kyambadde S.(Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 1:22:19.3

7.#20   Mustapha Mukasa – Mwambazi L. (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 1:24:35.6

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