Drivers, crews in high gear for Huye Rally

Ugandan Musa Kabega looks to win the Rallye de Huye title for a record third consecutive year. / Sam Ngendahimana

Local and regional crews have stepped up their preps as the National Rally Championship heads to Southern Province for this year’s Rally de Huye.

The 2019 edition of the annual race is scheduled for the weekend of June 29-30.

The motor racing event will start with the reconnaissance warm-up before crews embark on the designated competitive stage route of Rango – Kibirizi – Mugasa – Gisagara – Rwasave before crossing the finish-line at Kabutare.

The rally will also have a night race between 7 and 9pm on June 29.

The following – second and last – day will see crews flagging off from Save through Rwanza to Shyanda, starting at 10am.

According to organisers, the event will also have Go-Kart racing.

It is expected to be a highly heated affair between home crews against Burundian and Ugandan drivers. Two-time champion Jean Claude Gakwaya is upbeat to win the race after missing last year’s edition due to mechanical setbacks of his Subaru Impreza.

On the other hand, the reigning national champion Din Imtiaz, of Burundi, will be targeting maximum points to keep him in good stead for his title defence, but compatriots Valery Bukera and Ismail Shermohammed will be breathing down his neck.

Ugandan Musa Kabega, navigated by Rogers Sirwomu, in his Mitsubishi EVO 9, will also certainly be looking to defend the Huye Rally title, and clinch it for a record third year running since 2017.

Kabega edged Jonas Kansiime, a fellow Uganda, by 35 seconds to win the title last year, while Rwanda’s Jean Jean Giesen settled for the third position.

Huye Rally is organised in memory of late Claude Gakwaya (RIP), one of the best rally drivers that country has ever produced. He died in a motor accident in 1986.