In Co-ordSport Driver / Team
Malaysia’s top rally stars Karamjit Singh and Allen Oh are determined to win their first FIA Production Car World Rally Championship title in Australia in three weeks time, despite retiring from the Propecia Rally New Zealand in their Gp N Proton PERT today with a transmission failure on SS4.
Rally New Zealand officially got underway last night when huge crowds of rally enthusiasts lined the colourful streets of Auckland’s city centre to watch one of the most spectacular ceremonial starts of the year. This morning, with the accompaniment of beautiful sunny skies, saw the real action begin as 81 crews headed 150kms south of Auckland to Raglan for eight special stages.
As fate would have it Rally New Zealand was not to provide the best of fortunes for Karam. In good spirits, despite suffering from a bad head cold, the current Asia Pacific Champion suffered a puncture after hitting a small rock in the road 10kms from the end of the opening Te Akau North stage, costing him nearly two minutes. Undeterred, Karam charged on finding good pace on SS2 and SS3 in an effort to make up for lost time. Fate then cruelly took a hand at the start of SS4, the spectacular Whaanga Cost stage, said by many to be one of the key stages of the event, as a sudden loss of drive indicated transmission failure.
Ever the sportsman, Karam was philosophical about the event and looks forward to Rally Australia:
“We just went out there to do our best today, trying not to push too hard but enough to maintain position, but it just wasn’t meant to be our rally. To start with we suffered a puncture ten kilometres from the end of the first stage. It was very unusual, we hit a small rock in the road and it caused an instant puncture, all we could do was get the car to the end of the stage which unfortunately cost us nearly two minutes. On stages two and three we were back on pace and things were looking good and then all of a sudden, with no indication, we lost drive at the start of stage four. That’s rallying, that’s why they say ‘it ain’t over until it’s over’.
“We still have Rally Australia to look forward to where we still have the chance to take the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship title and we’re definitely going to be giving it our all. There’s no room for taking it easy now and hopefully we will be able to provide an exciting end to our first season in the FIA World Rally Championship”.