Gakwaya Jean Claude and Mugabo Jean Claude Reign Supreme in Huye Rally 2024


By Mwambazi Lawrence

The 2024 Huye Rally concluded with a spectacular display of skill and determination, as local heroes Gakwaya Jean Claude and Mugabo Jean Claude emerged victorious, navigating their Subaru Impreza N10 to a commanding win. The duo faced stiff competition from a formidable Ugandan team, but their consistent performance over the course of the rally stages secured them the top spot on the podium.

Rally winner Jean Gakwaya pushing his subaru impreza in the Gisagara Stage (Courtesy Photo)

Gakwaya and Mugabo clocked an impressive total time of 2:07:35, dominating 5 of the 12 stages in the rally. Their trouble-free run was a testament to both their driving prowess and the reliability of their vehicle. They outpaced the second-placed Ugandan crew of Fred Busulwa and Joseph Bongole, who finished in a Subaru Impreza N14 with a time of 2:11:45.

Uganda’s Fred Busulwa managed 2nd place behind Gakwaya (Courtesy Photo)

Rounding off the podium was the sole female driver, Kalimpinya Queen and Olivier Ngabo, who delivered an outstanding performance in their Subaru impreza Gc8. Despite trailing the leaders by 22 minutes and 7 seconds, her consistent and trouble-free rally ensured them a well-deserved third-place finish.

Rwanda’s Female driver queen Kalimpinya managed 3rd ovarall

In fourth place, another Ugandan crew, Nasser Mutebi and Steven Bunya, piloting a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9, saw their podium dreams crash and burn during the second stage of day one, where a mishap 4 kilometers from the end of the 39-kilometer stage led to significant damage to the rear suspension. They returned under the Rally 2 rule after missing two stages, incurring a 20-minute penalty that ultimately pushed them out of the podium contention.

Uganda’s Nasser Mutebi powers his Mitsubishi Evo9 in the sunday Save stage

The fifth position was secured by the Equity Bank-sponsored crew of Dr. Moustapha Mukasa and Lawrence Mwambazi, also in a Mitsubishi Evo9. Their rally was marred by early issues with the gear selector, just 2 kilometers into the first long Gisagara stage. Despite this setback, they made a remarkable comeback in the night stages and clinched two of the four stages on the second day, finishing with a total time of 2:47:25.

Equity bank sponsored Moustapha Mukasa giving the fans what they want to see

Mike Rutuku and Alain Gasarabwe, driving a Subaru Impreza GC8, finished in sixth place after resolving a fan belt issue encountered in the second stage. They managed to rejoin and continue through the Saturday night stages.

Rwanda’s Mike Rutuku and codriver Alaine Gasarabwe could only manage 6th ovarall in their subaru impreza GC8

Julious Semambo and Diana Nagawa triumphed in the 2WD category, expertly nursing their Toyota Corolla to the final day despite a broken fan belt. They finished seventh overall. Another Rwandan crew, Genese Semana and Jacques Hakizimana, completed the rally in eighth place, driving a Peugeot to a total time of 3:30:06.

2WD winner Julious Semambo and Diana Nagawa in their toyota corolla

Notably, fan favorite Giancarlo Davite’s rally ended prematurely when his Mitsubishi EvoX suffered an engine failure in the first 39-kilometer Gisagara stage. Similarly, Uganda’s Jonas Kansime and Monica Birwinyo were forced to retire due to an overheating engine during the same stage, with no hope of returning on day two.

The main battle throughout the rally was fiercely contested between the Subaru and Mitsubishi crews. While the Subaru teams enjoyed a largely trouble-free rally, the Mitsubishi teams bounced back strongly on the second day, winning all four Sunday stages. They have vowed to return stronger for the 2025 edition of the Huye Rally.

The podium dominated by the Subaru crews

“The battle has just begun,” declared the Mitsubishi crews, promising an even more thrilling competition next year. The 2024 Huye Rally has set a high bar, showcasing the incredible talent and competitive spirit of East African motorsport.

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