Jas Mangat described his win at the 2022 Shell V-Power Pearl of Africa Rally in his first race of the season as one that exceeded his expectations.
The three-time Uganda National Rally campion dominated an epic three-day fight with the some of the best drivers in Africa to claim his second career POAUR victory, arriving almost 10 years since his first.
Mangat competing alongside co-driver Joseph Kamya finished at the top of the timesheets by 5:15 minutes after seven pulsating stages spread over two days in the sugarcane plantations of Lugazi over the weekend.
The victory feels great,” Mangat told Sanyuka TV, adding; “We have been out of action for a while and to come here and win ahead of incredible drivers is incredible.”
“We tried to play it very well after some training and a little bit of practice. I am happy to be here.”
The rally in its self has been quite a challenge and very unpredictable especially with the weather, and of course the competition posed by the rest of the field.”
“Our blessing has been the rain. It caught up on so many drivers and we went in with a clean run and we built up on it. But the competition was really tight and we had the luck,” Mangat continued.
Mangat, competing in his first rally since winning in Kasanda in June 2021, was fast from the get go, with the fastest time in the 20.45 km Kivuvu section.
Main rivals Karen Patel from Kenya and Zambia’s Leroy Gomes were caught out by the slippery stages following the downpour in the morning, allowing Mangat to build a steady lead early on.
Even after Gomes chopped a minute off his five-minute lead after the second stage, Mangat replied by winning the final stage of Saturday to hold a 32 second lead ahead of second placed Ponsiano Lwakataka.
There were no further twists to the rally on the final day, with the 41-year-old keeping steady pace to see out victory and end a three year wait for a Ugandan winner.
By winning the rally, Mangat joins a legendary list of Ugandan drivers to win the rally on more than one occasion that includes Chipper Adams (1997, 1997) and Charlie Lubega (2000,2003,2004).