KAMPALA –Budding rally champion, Rajiv Ruparelia will be one of the ten crew drivers representing Uganda at the two-day – Equator Rally Championship that gets underway in Naivasha, Kenya at the weekend.
The Ugandan crews were officially flagged off in Kampala on Monday ahead of the event, which doubles the third round of 2021 FIA African Rally Championship that has attracted at least 35 experienced drivers in the region.
The Equator event is set to act as a dry run of the WRC Safari Rally, planned for June 24-27.
Besides Rajiv, who will be navigated by Enoch Olinga in a VW Polo; Federation of Uganda Motorsport, president, Dipu Ruparelia confirmed the clearance of nine other drivers for the event. These include; Duncan Mubiru (Kinkankane)/Musa Nsubuga; Kepher Walubi/ Asuman Mohammed; Christakis Fitidis;
Abdul Kateete/ Rahma Mohammed and Amaanraj Singh Rai. Others are Yassin Nasser/ Ali Katumba; Ronald Sebuguzi/ Anthony Mugambwa; Jas Mangat/ Joseph Kamya as well as the crew of Resident Director – International University of East Africa – IUEA, Hassan Alwi Jr.
Read clearance letter, here
All crew drivers on Team Uganda, save for Ruparelia have experience in this event, which organisers confirm to have attracted the best not only from Africa but Asia as well, among them – Oman’s based Minti Motorsport’s Joey Ghose, as well as Kenya’s rising star Karan Patel.
“It’s just one of those rallies added on our experience. Kenya is the ultimate circuit to gain experience.
“We gained some experience from the first round. So our expectations are to first have a clean event and finish the rally, hopefully in the good position, which will count to the Kenyan championship,” noted Ruparelia’s co-driver Olinga at the flagship handover event in Kampala.
The event will have 11 stages, accounting for a total competitive distance of 206.72kms.
The event starts on Friday as the ARC drivers take on a qualifying stage of 5.40km to determine their starting position the following day. The non-ARC registered crews will then take on a shakedown in the same stage.
Kenyan champion Baldev Singh Chager, rising star Karan Patel, five times ARC Safari Rally winner Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo and South African crew of Guy Botterill/Simon Vacy-Lyle are some of the big names to watch in the event which will traverse Lake Naivasha and Soysambu Conservancy on April 24th-25th.
All-Rwanda crew of Giancarlo Davite and his lady co-driver Sylvia Vindevogel are no strangers to Kenyan competitive stages. They will be returning to familiar terrain for the umpteenth time in a Mitsubishi Evolution 10. Davide and Sylvia have been regular visitors on Kenyan ARC events in the past.
Pratul Ghose of United Kingdom and England-based Kenyan Imran Khan will pilot a Volkswagen Polo R5 in their elegant Minti Motorsport livery.
Clerk of the Course Gurvir Bhabra has highlighted an exciting range of events in the run up to Equator Rally.