If ever there was a night where a single racing team has dominated the night’s proceedings, it was definitely the night of the 2010 Rally Awards.
Sri Lanka’s only computer manufacturer EZY, who entered the racing arena in 2009 by forming EZY Racing as their motor racing arm, stamped its dominance in the rally racing arena when they swept away 20 of the 70 awards that were on offer, which was close to 30% of the offering, and were recognised as the best rally racing team in Sri Lanka when they were awarded the Winner of the Team Championship for 2010 rally racing. Team Bullion Exchange, the racing team of the prestigious jewellery maker, who finished as the runner up for the team championship, was represented by the Wahab family comprising racing stalwart Cassim Wahab co driven by Nassar Sakkaf and his son Javed Wahab co driven by his brother Ishraq Wahab.
The 2010 Rally Awards, were held at “The Grid”, undoubtedly Sri Lanka’s most iconic restaurant which has been created with the true ambience of motor racing, situated adjacent to the Speed Drome pro kart centre in Battaramulla and was jointly organised by the country’s oldest motor racing club CMSC and MRA.
EZY Racing who were represented by 2009 Rally Champion Rizvi Farouk co driven by Jamal Hussain and the newly crowned champion Shafraz Junaid co driven by namesake Shafraz Hamzadeen won 66% of the rallies that were held in 2010, with Rally Kantale resulting in a 1, 2 finish for the first time for the team. The team was ably supported by its mechanical partners Senok and Auto Force who were later on awarded the best support team in rally racing for their commendable efforts in ensuring that the EZY Racing cars were always in peak condition for a rally winning performance.
Shafraz Junaid, who has been a dominant figure in the motor cycling arena with many records under his belt, was jubilant in celebrating his first ever championship win in motor car racing. “It is definitely a dream come true. Rally racing has always been my passion. I believe my style of driving suits rally racing the best. I always wanted to be competitive in rallying, but to be crowned the champion is truly a feeling that is special. I believe this will have a great impact on my career and the way I would approach rallying from now onwards” said Junaid at the awards night. He further went on to say “EZY Racing has without doubt provided me the opportunity to be consistently competitive. This is truly what has helped me to convert results into a championship win.”
Commenting on his teams achievements, Shafraz Hamzadeen, Team Principal/ CEO of EZY Racing said “this is indeed the result of some very hard work. When Rizvi won the 2009 drivers championship, we knew we were good enough to repeat it again if we worked hard. We strengthened our cars, developed more stamina in our drivers and worked very hard in our partnerships, especially with our mechanical partners to get the right car and right support. Unlike in circuit racing, to be consistent in rally racing you need strong resources and a strong support crew. The fact that we had the best support team was evident from the recognition we received. The fact that all this hard work is showing results shows that we definitely are on the right track as a team. The fact that the result was repeated but with a different driver/co driver combination shows that we have the best drivers in our team”. Hamzadeen further stated that the achievements of 2010 would without doubt inspire his team to strongly contend for the 2011 championship as well. “The Best Rally Team, The Best Rally Drivers and The Best Rally Support Team, is all the inspiration that the team requires to contend strongly for the third consecutive rally championship”
EZY Racing’s mechanical partner Auto Force, who prepares most racing cars as well as road running cars to perfection, was awarded the Best Rally Backup Team for their commendable efforts in enabling Rally Champion Shafraz Junaid to drive his EZY Subaru ER3, a gruelling 22KM, despite the fact that the car had a heating radiator with a leakage in the gasket and an engine that was on the verge of ceasing in the decisive final stage of Rally Sevanagala, which was instrumental in Shafraz winning the rally as well as the championship. “Preparing cars to the point of perfection has always been our success. This is what we do every day to our customers in Auto Force. Translating the same commitment to motor racing can sometimes be a challenge, but with the support levels and the resources that we have inherited we have been able to extend the impeccability of the day to day work that we do, to racing cars as well. This award truly recognises the efforts that we have put in to our partnership with EZY Racing” said Sajaad Zuhair, Managing Director of Auto Force. With the 2010 Rally Awards finishing in grand style, “The Grid”, who were the official hosts for the evening, provided the motor racers and well as the racing enthusiasts who were present, a great experience with their mouthwatering motor racing food menu.