In a thrilling kick-off to the Mbarara City Rally, Jas Mangat and his new co-driver Enoch Olinga exhibited remarkable dominance, securing victory in all four stages of the day effortlessly.
Driving the potent Hyundai i20R5, Mangat dictated the pace, leaving his rivals far behind.
While challengers emerged, such as Kansime in his Mitsubishi Evo8 with co-driver Bukenya Kesh, who managed to secure second place in two stages, it was Ronald Sebuguzi who closely followed Mangat in the superspecial runs but couldn't match his relentless pace.
Expected to pose a significant challenge, Ponsiano Lwakataka faced early setbacks, including a puncture in the first stage and engine issues in the superspecial, which pushed him back to ninth position, a staggering eight minutes behind the leader.
Despite the hurdles, Joshua Muwanguzi, Fred Busulwa, Isaac Sozzi, and Moustapha Mukasa showed resilience, encountering no major issues on day one, keeping their hopes alive.
In the 2WD category, Edward Kirumira and co-driver Shakira Nabwami took the lead in their Toyota Corolla, closely followed by Ibrahim Lubega and co-driver Katabalwa Robert.
In the CRC category, newcomer Musa Segabwe and co-driver Mathias Kiyega led the pack, overcoming two punctures with determination and skill.
However, there were casualties, as young contenders Ali Omar Bobo suffered engine failure in the first stage, and Haruna Kataza endured suspension damage to his Subaru N8 within a mere five kilometers of the opening stage.
Notably, Moustafa Mukasa of the Drugs Express Rally Team, sponsored by Equity Bank and Eagle Vet, showcased fearless driving in his newly acquired Evo9 during the superspecial stage, injecting excitement into the competition.
Looking ahead, tomorrow's itinerary promises more thrills, with crews set to tackle a repeat of the challenging Katebe stage in the morning, followed by two lengthy stages, Akageti and Akyapa. The excitement peaks with the Kakoba power stage, where the prize giving ceremony will take place, followed by a grand celebration at the Akaya Crescent Hotel.
As the rally progresses, anticipation grows, with spectators eagerly waiting to see who will emerge victorious in this intense battle for supremacy on the Mpu Mbarara City Rally circuit.