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Bobi Wine’s Brother leads Uganda Rally fans for a thrill of WRC Safari Rally

For three years in a row, the return of the World Rally Championship [WRC] Safari Rally to Kenya has elicited a feverish mood among motorsport enthusiasts both locally and across the border.

Rally fans have thronged Naivasha which has been a host to the high-octane competition serving Safari Rally fans a taste of the World’s celebrated event.

Among these, are Kenya’s neighbors the Bazukulu from Uganda who have for three years traded their passports to experience the cracking sounds, thrill, and maneuvers of the highly experienced rally drivers.

Away from the polarizing politics of the ‘Pearl of Africa’, the Uganda fans speared a piece of their dollars traveling over 400 kilometers to witness dare-devil antics from the top rally drivers.

Leading the pace from Uganda is Peter Kyagulanyi, a brother to Bobi Wine, a renowned musician and politician who in 2021 challenged to overthrow long-serving Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni but failed.

Kyagulanyi ventured into a rare area away from their family interests, motorsport, carrying on his shoulders every calendar from a list of motorsport events both locally and globally.

Kyagulanyi led a delegation of over 30 close friends and safari Rally fans from Uganda to Naivasha carrying with them Matoke, a favorite delicacy from Uganda.

Since the early 2000s, Kyagulanyi has been hooked to the WRC competitions around the world, and the return of the Kenyan leg in 2021 after a decade-long break was a dream come true.

“We spent over UG sh. 2.5 million (Sh. 90,000) to come and witness the finest, most thrilling motorsport event in the world being held a door away from our borders,” said Kyagulanyi.

Kyagulanyi is a big fan of Kenyan drivers more so his favorite being triple Africa champion Manvir Baryan whom he would have supported if he competed in this year’s competition.

“I have been a fan of Ford drivers ever since I developed an interest in a motorsport event but in this competition, I am rooting for the young, most promising Finish driver Kalle Rovenpera,” said Kyagulanyi.

Kyagulanyi who was speaking on the final leg of the competition at the Hells Gate rally route on Sunday said Naivasha has given a warm welcome to their members thanks to its renowned hospitality treat and ever-welcoming weather.

The Ugandan enthusiasts joined thousands of real fans who flocked and camped at the designated viewer’s area in the lakeside town to witness the year-long speed thrift action.

On his part, Humphrey Kiruki, a Kenyan motorist enthusiast and fan said the return of the WRC Safari Rally has provided a rare opportunity for the local drivers to showcase their skills in rallying as well as placing Kenya and Naivasha as a key destination for the World acclaimed rally.

Kiruki, an official at the local motorsport event, lauded the government for the seamless organization and planning of the rally, which continues to earn the country millions of dollars in earnings for three years.

He urged the government to help develop young drivers, especially women drivers who conspicuously miss during local rally competitions to the detriment of their men counterparts.

Another Kenyan young rally enthusiast Collins Odhambo was elated to witness his first WRC Safari thrill, in awe of the daredevil antics of renowned and world-experienced drivers who have camped for days in Naivasha to showcase their rally skills and earn much-needed points.

Odhiambo said he was rooting for local driver Karl ‘Flash’ Tundo to win the competition and glue Kenyans’ mark and contribution to the motorsport event.

When this report was filed, Toyata-bound Sebastian Ogier, the 2021 finalist at the competition, had drawn extra seconds ahead of his key rival and 2022 winner Kalle Rovenpera.

The World Rally Championships Safari Rally attracted 34 drivers from across the globe with the final curtain falling on Sunday.

The rally competition has resuscitated the local tourism industry which had dipped as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic slump.

By Erastus Gichohi

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