VIVO Energy injects Shs250m for Pearl of Africa Rally

It’s On. (L-R) Minister of Works and Transport Gen. Wamala, Vivo Energy Uganda Managing Director Grobbelaar and FMU president Dipu Ruparelia unveiling the Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally logo.

The National Rally Championship has already covered two rounds and Ponsiano Lwakataka is in the driving seat as he chases a third NRC title.

Events don’t come bigger than the Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally, though and all eyes will be on Uganda in May when the country hosts the third round of the Africa Rally Championship.

The May 6-8 event was launched yesterday morning at Shell Bugolobi with Vivo Energy unveiling a Shs250m sponsorship package for the rally. Uganda last hosted the event in 2019.

“Globally, Shell V-Power, the premium performance fuel, is one of the greatest supporters of motorsport,” Vivo Energy Uganda Managing Director Johan Grobbelaar said at the signing and unveiling of the deal. “Building on the support extended to the sport for the last 10 years, we are pleased to once again provide sponsorship that will enable the return of the annual rally to the sporting calendar,” he added.

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Hustle for points

The most prestigious event on the FMU calendar will also be the third round of the NRC with local drivers fighting for points in the run to this year’s title. Drivers; Arthur Blick, Ronald Ssebuguzi and Rajiv Ruparelia all attended the event and will be ready to go when the event gets underway.

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“We finished second in 2019 and will be going for top position this time round,” Arthur Blick said. Clerk of Course (COC) David Mayanja revealed that the biggest concern will be on how the fans behave in ensuring a safe event. He said Uganda is on the verge of losing the hosting rights and fans need to follow stipulated guidelines to have a safe rally.

“We have tried to engage the fans and so far, they are responding well,” Dipu Ruparelia, FMU President, revealed.

Safety first

To ensure the safety of everyone involved, 90% of the rally will take place on private roads.

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A total of 468km will be covered and 271 of these will be competitive.

There are specific viewing points planned by FMU and these are expected to have whatever the fans might need to limit movements in the competitive sections.

At the function attended by Minister of Transport and Works Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, organisers revealed the need to have at least two or three choppers for the event in order to have one trailing the cars and alerting fans to clear the way.

The minister thanked FMU for taking the event off public roads and called upon them to involve Uganda Police in the event from the start and not at the final hour.

A total of 10 sections will be covered with three stages of day one repeated. Only two will be repeated on Day Two.

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