Win toughest stage in the rally with a 20 debit point lead to seal the rally on the 1st stage
Sri Lanka’s premier racing brand, EZY Racing, stamped their success on the track once again when Shafraz Junaid along with his Co Driver Shafraz Hamzadeen finished victorious at the Southern Monsoon Rally, organized by the Southern Motor Sports Club.
EZY Racing which entered the competition with a team of 4 comprising ace driver Rizvi Farouk, Shafraz Junaid, and two guest drivers namely Yakub Aarif and Shalutha Adeysuriya had a fantastic weekend finishing 2nd in the team event in spite of ace driver Rizvi Farouk experiencing severe braking problems all throughout the Rally.
The Monsoon Rally which is considered to be the toughest and most grueling TSD Rally in Sri Lanka, consisted of 3 stages covering over 600km. Junaid who started the Rally as competitor number 7, 14 minutes after the start of the first car, had an outstanding drive in the first stage despite facing severe power constraints due to problems with the turbo on his engine. The first stage of the Rally which consisted of 184 KM lasted four hours and was undoubtedly the toughest stage of the rally and had many competitors facing different challenges and many navigation issues. However, Shafraz (Junaid) & Shafraz (Hamzadeen) coupled perfect navigation with an outstanding display of driving to overtake all 6 vehicles that started in front of them to be the first vehicle to finish that stage.
“The first stage was all about endurance and stamina. It was a very tough stage and was plotted perfectly by the organizers. We were quite determined to have a good beginning for this year’s rally. Although we experienced a lack of power in our engine due to a failure with the turbo, I had perfect navigation support from Shafraz (Hamzadeen) and we managed to have a flawless stage. We were quite surprised that we were able to overtake every car that started ahead of us” commented Junaid on the results of the first stage.
“ The fact that we had a 20 debit point lead over the second placed car and close to a 90 debit point lead over the third place on that stage undoubtedly reflects how well we managed to drive that stage. I received impeccable instructions from my co driver and we managed to be on course, which is the most important thing in a TSD rally. Once we started overtaking a few vehicles we became very confident that we were driving very well and were also confident that we could win the stage” said a jubilant Junaid.
The second stage lasted over 200KM’s and was Junaid’s worst stage. He managed to finish 5th on the stage with a total of 25 debit points but still led the Rally overall. Coming into the final stage Junaid who had already managed to seal the Rally win, needed to finish the rally and ensure that he conceded less than 15 debit points to emerge overall victorious.
“The final run was tougher than the second stage because we had to fight through traffic. However, we managed a near perfect stage by conceding just 5 debit points. This was a fantastic effort by us especially considering the traffic we had to face on many occasions. In Rallying it’s very important to have a very good driver/ co-driver relationship. Shafraz and I have known each other quite well both on and off the racing track. We know where to push each other and where to ease off. This knowhow has undoubtedly helped us to be consistent in our performance” said Junaid.
Ace driver Rizvi Farouk, who experienced braking problems all throughout the race stunned everyone and almost won (missed the final check point) the final stage when he drove the entire stage without brakes in his vehicle and had to concede just 2 debit points. “It was a disappointing weekend for us. We experienced braking and electronic issues which really hampered our race and managed to just scamper through the first two stages. However, we decided to hang on because our team had a good chance of winning the team event, and that provided me with the motivation I needed to drive my double cab without brakes in the final stage. We had a near perfect stage if not for a missed check point. I am happy that Shafraz & Shafraz had an amazing run and won the event for the team. That’s the best result we could expect” said Farouk.
EZY Racing, a renowned brand in the rally racing arena who have already stamped their authority in speed rallying showed their prowess in the more strenuous version of rallying, the TSD format with Junaid winning the Rally and guest driver Yakub Aarif finishing 2nd.
Commenting on his teams achievement, Shafraz Hamzadeen Group Chief Executive EZY Holdings said “We have yet again shown that we are consistent as a team. Today’s result is a true indication that we are heading in the right direction to be the best racing team in the country. The fact that Shafraz (Junaid) won has come as no surprise, especially when you consider the commitment he has displayed towards racing this year. He has physically become much fitter than he was a year back, built up his stamina, and made some key changes in his style of driving. His composure behind the wheel has always been his deliverable that has without doubt delivered us the results this year”.
Commenting further on his team’s performance, Hamzadeen went on to state that his team showed their superiority when Rizvi Farouk continued with the rally when he had no hopes of getting anything close to a decent result. “Rizvi’s (Farouk) commitment towards the team’s performance overall was tremendous and very motivating. When he started the final stage Rizvi had absolutely no hope of a decent result even if the other vehicles in front of him did not finish that stage. He drove a vehicle with absolutely no brakes, over 200km to provide the team the neccessary motivation. This is a true indication yet again of the spirit within the team”.
Hamzadeen also went on to thank Yakub Aaarif and Shalutha Adeysuriya for accepting their invitation to be the guest drivers for the team in the rally.
“As we said in the beginning of the season, we are on a drive to be a team of international standard. We have begun to provide our drivers the direction and resources towards developing them to provide results consistently. This year has been quite encouraging for us and we eagerly look forward to concluding the last two rallies with strong results”