Singh ready to tee-off on Rally Mexico debut On a high after winning the Malaysian Open Pro-Am Golf Tournament in Kuala Lumpur, rally ace Karamjit Singh hopes his winning streak will continue as he prepares to tackle the biggest challenge in his...
Singh ready to tee-off on Rally Mexico debut
On a high after winning the Malaysian Open Pro-Am Golf Tournament in Kuala Lumpur, rally ace Karamjit Singh hopes his winning streak will continue as he prepares to tackle the biggest challenge in his 2004 FIA Production Car World Rally title bid - his first Corona Rally Mexico on March 11-14.
Carrying the flag for Malaysia, Karam and co-driver Allen Oh are supported by the Malaysian Government and Proton this year as they head to North America for the second round of the PCWRC. Since Sweden (Feb 6-8) their newly built Go K.L./Malaysia Tourism and Petronas sponsored Gp N Proton PERT has returned to the UK to Derbyshire motorsports preparation experts Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM) to be prepared for the gravel roads of Mexico.
Corona Rally Mexico is a new arrival to the World Rally Championship this year and opens up a whole new era in the history of the sport in the form of new regulations and a more compact rally schedule. With the promise of warm sunny weather, unprecedented service park facilities, fast flowing gravel stages, a friendly Mexican greeting and copious amounts of Corona beer and Tequila, it's likely to become a favourite amongst teams, officials and fans alike.
The event is held in the state of Guanajuato and the Poliforum Expo Centre in the city of León will provide a base for the rally throughout the weekend. Recently completed, the multi-million dollar centre has the capacity to house a fully covered, air conditioned single service park for all competitors, Rally Headquarters, parc ferme, scrutineering and a variety of public entertainment all under one roof!
Like nearly all of their competitors Karam and Allen will be faced with compiling a new set of pace notes for their Mexican challenge. The stages are mostly fast, wide and smooth with only approximately 20 percent characterised as slow, twisty and rocky. A fan of gravel conditions, Karam looks forward to his first trip to North America.
Karam comments: "I'm really looking forward to going to Mexico as a new event and a new challenge. It will be the first time that I've competed there but it'll also be the first time for many of the competitors so we won't be at too much of a disadvantage. It'll also give us a chance to try out the new car on gravel conditions which will provide us with some good feedback for the rest of the season.
"Since coming back from Sweden I've taken part in the Malaysian Open Pro-Am Golf Tournament which is held on one of the toughest courses in Malaysia. Two days before the main event four amateurs, including myself, played against a South African professional and we won! I play a lot of golf in between rallies to keep my fitness up and I'm playing well at the moment, I've even managed to get my handicap down to single figures. Hopefully this good fortune will stay with us as we go to Mexico; we'll definitely be trying our best for a good result."
Corona Rally Mexico runs from the 12-14 March and is the most compact rally in the 2004 calendar. Covering 394.43km in a total distance of 1040.67km, 38 percent of the route is competitive and runs over three legs and 15 special stages.
The beautiful old colonial city of Guanajuato will play host to the ceremonial start of the event on Thursday (11 March). Welcoming the World Rally Championship to Mexico will be a whole host of dignitaries and sporting personalities including Mexico's leading Champ Car drivers Michel Jourdain and Mario Domingues.
Leg 1 starts at 09.00 hrs on Friday (12 March) and covers 108.03 competitive kilometres over four special stages and takes teams high into the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato mountain ranges above the city.
Leg 2, the longest day of the rally, starts at 08.00 on Saturday (13 March) with a drive through a Maguey (tequila) plantation on the way to stage five. Drivers will contest two loops of three stages and 154.34km before returning to León at 21.00 hrs.
The final and shortest day, Leg 3, begins at 06.30 hrs on Sunday (14 March) and contains a final five stages and 132.06km of competition including a double run of the longest stage of the event. The rally concludes with a finish ceremony in León at 14.30.