March, 19, 2014
Motor Racing Association conducts Round 1-RALLY PELWATTE
Colombo, March 17th 2014: The Motor Racing Association recently held the awards ceremony of the Rally Championship (Round I), at the Speedrome in Battaramulla. RALLY PELWATTE 2014 was held in Pelwatte, Buttala on the 13th, 14th and 15th of February 2014 and saw the participation of many veteran and novice competitors.
Not limiting the grueling track to drivers, the MRA also held an event for motorcycles .Taking away the top honours of the Bikes-SM Open Class was Dinesh Fernando. The most anticipated event of the rally has always been the SLGT class which saw many thrills and spills during the course within the boundaries of the sugar plantation.
Day One was completed with car No 88, the Mitsubishi Evo X driven by Dinesh Deheragoda leading the Rally from Shafraz Junaid, Ashan Silva and Dinesh Jayawardene.
Amongst the top runners, Rizvi Farouk having electrical problems, and Rally newcomer Charith Perera suffering from Turbo problems was not in contention with the leaders. Ashan Silva, having sorted out his car came out fighting in his Mitsubishi Evo V11with a blistering run to be the fastest in the first stage of Day 2, closing the gap to Deheragoda. The gap was mere seconds even after 100km of hard competitive Special Stages.
Much excitement and anticipation prevailed amongst the competitors and spectators alike. This prompted Dinesh Deheragoda to put all he had into his last run of the day, with reports coming from spectators within the sugar cane fields that Ashan Silva was ‘flying’ through the stage. After his final run Dinesh was nervously seen to be checking his watch and listening for the sound of the Evo V11 coming through the spectator filled office complex. But there was silence. The calm and steady Shafraz Junaid in his Subaru came through to finish with ever smiling Ashan having had to retire with a blown tire and damaged wheel just a few Kilometers from the finish.
Dinesh Deheragoda co-driven by Lasitha Rajapakse emerged overall winner in his Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X, while Ashan Silva and co-driver Irfan Fuard came in second driving their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VII. Shafraz Junaid and Jamal Hussain in their Subaru ER3 finished in third place. The Team Award was won by the ‘Mobil’ team comprising of Ashan Silva /Irfan Fuard and Dinesh Jayawardena/Shehan De Tissera.
The SLH-1600 class for cars was won by Mohan Perera who drove a Honda Civic, co driven by Mishara Ranasinghe For the undying spirit of finishing the race at all costs, Buddhi Gunasekara was awarded a special “Spirit of the Rally” trophy, while Dinesh Deheragoda’s mechanic Saman Kumara walked away with the award for “Best Mechanic” as commendation for his work in keeping the winning car in perfect Rally trim.
Another first by the MRA, who introduced motorsports in Sri Lanka, a TSD Fun Rally in a format similar to Special Stage Rallies for rookie drivers was also held which saw many enthusiastic young drivers and co-drivers maneuver the course. The SL T&J class was won by the mother-daughter combination of Janaki Alahapperuma and Amanda Suduwelikandage. Sam Smith and Shakya Wickramanayake drove away with the trophies for the Cars Over 1500cc class while the SL-N Cars up to 1500cc class was won by Mahesh Geeganage and Chaturanga Jeewan.
The MRA also felicitated and appreciated the support of the officials from the Ceylon Motors Sports Club, Negombo Motor Sports Club, Sri Lanka Autosports Drivers Association and sponsors involved in the Rally, especially Samantha Weerasekera, the administration, management and staff of Pelwatte Sugar Industries Buttala without whom an event of this magnitude would not have been possible.
The highlight of the evening was when the Secretary of Sri Lanka Automobile Sports (SLAS) Chula Ratwatte handed over the official letter confirming that as in the past, the Rally Championship conducted by the MRA , will count as the National Rally Championship. Round II of the MRA Rally Championship 2014 is scheduled to be held in Kantale on 14th and 15th June 2014.
Photo caption: National Rally Overall Winners