Monday, August 10, 2009

Rally development

It is heartening to note that sports who are considered not the "more popular" ones, are making every effort to gain popularity and to ensure that the sports continues to produce champions.

Rally racing may not have caught on like wild fire in Malaysia, but Karamjit Singh with his prowess has done enough to make it popular.

However, when stories of how difficult it is for Karamjit to stay in the sports keep surfacing, it could have a negative effect.

(From left) Gunaseelan, Karamjit Singh and his co-driver Jagdev Singh at the Press Conference for this weekend's Malaysian Rally Championship (MRC) which is held concurrently with the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in Kota Tinggi.

This is where, another rally driver Gunaseelan Rajoo, together with his sponsor, Pennzoil, have decided to give the sports some feel good factor.

Gunaseelan, the Malaysian Rally champion in 1999 (Closed) and 2003 (Open), who is firm believer of promoting youngsters to take up the sports and make a name for themselves, has been working hard to get the support from many quarters to realise his dream. (Read his biography and rally history at

The GSR-Pennzoil combination now have been hard at work to develop young talent for the past one and half years.

And they have managed to get the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM) and Sepang International Circuit (SIC), to lend their support.

Through the combined effort, GSR-Pennzoil has been able to organise the Rally X-Series and Rally sprint, which is open to all from 17 years and above.

The response for each leg has been tremendous where there were at least 30 participants in each leg and GSR-Pennzoil have shortlisted four drivers and four co-drivers, for further training and exposure.

The eight are drivers Mohd Shazly Ilyas (co-driver Mohd. Shazmie), Kenneth Koh (Mohd Dinie Nazmie), Mohd Sallehudin(Ahmad Fikri) and A. Magendran(Daveender Singh).

From left....Mohd. Shazmie Ilyas, Mohd Izwan (Guna's co-driver), Shamsul Nahar (Pennzoil Marketing Manager), Gunaseelan and Mohd Shazly Ilyas

"The drivers are all below the age of 25 and the youngest being 18. We are grooming them to become the new Karamjit Singhs," said Gunaseelan, the team owner of GSR-Pennzoil Racing Team.

"These young drivers will certainly gain tremendous experience racing against top drivers in the MRC," added Gunaseelan.

In total, there are five rounds in the MRC. The remaining two rounds after the Kota Tinggi round will be at Negri Sembilan in October and Selangor in December.

If only all sports associations take trouble to think seriously of development, Malaysia will certainly be standing tall in the sporting arena of many sports.

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