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2008 Zambia Press Releases

LUSAKA, Friday (September 5, 2008)

TOTAL Zambia has donated K30 million (approximately US$8 600) to the organizing committee of next weekend’s Zambia International Rally, the closing round of this season’s FIA-African Rally Championship (ARC) series.
And Total Zambia has partly facilitated the passage for South African sisters-in-law, Lola and Megan Verlaque, collectively known as the ‘Rally Chicks’, to participate in this three-day rally that has drawn a record 11 foreign entries.
Presenting a dummy cheque at Total head office in Lusaka this morning, Total Zambia managing director Alexis Vovk said motor rally was a great testing ground for his company’s products, especially lubricants which have high level of technology and research to give the best performance and best reliability. 
Vovk said when a crew using Total products wins a rally, it was not only the skills of the driver and the talent of the navigator, but the work of the company’s products, especially the lubricants.
He said rally was an exciting sport coupled with great thrills and for that his company encourages the media to give it better coverage, especially as there were many talented drivers in Zambia who deserve to be supported.
“So today it is indeed my great honour and privilege to present a small contribution to the Zambia Motor Sport Association for the Zambia International Rally that revs off next weekend starting September 12th to 14th, 2008.
“The contribution is to the tune of K30 million which we will hand over now, but to also add to the excitement we will also assist the ‘Rally Chicks’ of South Africa with a small contribution of fuel for the International Rally.
“We hope the Team Total will do us proud like they have always done in the past and for ZMSA (Zambia Motor Sport Association) we wish you well in the organisation and eventual event starting next week,” he said.
He said on the global scale, Total has been involved in rally for more than 40 years especially with the Citroen brand adding that across the five continents, Total Citroen World Rally Championship (WRC) team had usually been victorious.
Vovk said the team has won four successive WRC drivers and constructors’ titles in the last four years, a feat which he described as a success that does not come by chance.
“This is also true in Africa, where in most of the countries where Total operates, we are keen to support motor sport.
“For example, in late May to early June, our close neighbour Total South Africa hosted the 2008 Total International Rally where over 50 rally drivers jostled for positions and not to be left behind were the now famous the ‘Rally Chicks’ that is, Lola and Megan Verlaque who also participated.
“If you remember well, they emerged second in last year’s Zambia International Rally and I believe they gave the men a good run for their money,” he said.
He said Total Zambia was not different from the giant oil marketing company’s other subsidiaries operating around the globe having endeavoured in the last few years to be associated with the events organized by the ZMSA.
“This year, as in the past years, we have continued supporting three Total team that comprise of Paul Monge, Charles Kapya and Ken Mukosa with more than K120 million (about US$34 000) being pumped in,” he said.
Vovk said he expects the Zambian crews to demonstrate their talent, and was also hopefully that a Total team would make the winner’s podium.

Speaking at the same function, organizing committee chairman and ZMSA president, Derek Conroy thanked Total for the gesture adding that the firm has for years been one of the major contributors to the development of the sport in Zambia.

Conroy said the growth of motor sport in Zambia was largely dependant on the active involvement of the business community.
“We would like to thank Alexis Vovk and Yuyo Kambikambi of Total Zambia for their continuing support and confidence in the ZMSA and the International Rally organising committee.
“Total Zambia has been sponsoring Zambia Motor Sport for many years and the ZMSA is proud to be associated with the leading fuel supplier in Zambia,” he said.
Winners of this season’s FIA-ARC drivers and navigators’ contest as well as the victor of the inaugural ‘Pirelli Star Driver’ Africa competition will be decided during the Zambia International Rally.
Zambians, Muna Singh and David Sihoka are lying second in the FIA-ARC race with seven points separating them from leaders, Hideaki Miyoshi and Hakaru Ichino of Japan while Zimbabweans, James Whyte and Philip Archenoul are a further eight points off the pace in third position.
Four points separate the top three in the Pirelli race that has Kenyan Peter Horsey as leader followed by Jon Williams of South Africa and Alfir Khan, also of Kenya.
The rally will start on Friday next week with a ceremonial start from Holiday Inn in the afternoon followed by a spectator stage at the Lusaka Motor Club in the Showgrounds.
Competitive stages on the subsequent two days, the rally proper, will be run on the farmlands located on the outskirts of Lusaka.

By IGNATIUS MAZEKO - LUSAKA, Thursday (August 28, 2008)

The Zambia International Rally this morning received a financial boost when Toyota Zambia donated US$12 000 towards the hosting of this FIA-African Rally Championship (ARC) final round event.

The US$12 000 would cover both financial and material support to the rally to be held on the weekend of September 12-14 in Lusaka.

Toyota would also provide three top-of-the-range showroom vehicles to be used as zero, double zero and triple zero cars during the rally.

The zero car, a plush US$160 000 worth Toyota Land Cruiser 4.5 litre turbo diesel V8 machine, was on display at the company’s showroom this morning during the media briefing when the firm revealed its sponsorship for the rally.

The other two are set to be unveiled on September 10 at Holiday Inn, the venue that has been the Rally Headquarters since 2004.

Briefing journalists at Toyota Zambia showroom in Lusaka, managing director Andrew Marshall urged other vehicle manufacturers operating in Zambia to actively get involved in sponsoring motor sport.

Marshall said rally enthusiasts would attest to his company’s consistent support and sponsorship of what he said has become one of the most meticulous organized events on Zambia’s sporting calendar.

He said as such, Toyota Zambia was encouraged and urged more people to lend their support to local rally drivers and the sport as a whole. 

“This year our sponsorship has ensured that the Zambia Motor Sport Association regains the ability to host the International Rally under the auspices of the FIA. Additionally, a portion of our sponsorship has been allocated to the running costs associated with the rally. Toyota Zambia is therefore proud to be instrumental in restoring the ZMSA to the prestigious position of being a recognized host of a rally of international repute,” he said.

Marshall said his firm remains confident that this year’s rally would attract at least twenty participants and that half that number would be foreign crews.

He said together with the ZMSA, Toyota remains committed to contributing to the growth and development of motor sport in Zambia and also providing a platform for increased participation from local crews.

“I would like to conclude by wishing all the participants good luck on September 12th. As we look forward to a successful international rally, I would also like to encourage and thank the ZMSA for their hard work in the preparations this year. They can be assured of our continued support as a partner and contributor to motor sport in Zambia,” he said.

Speaking at the same briefing, ZMSA president Derek Conroy said his Association was pleased to once again welcome Toyota as major sponsors of the rally.

Conroy said Toyota has been supporting rally for many years by providing zero vehicles, drivers and fuel.

He said besides providing support to the rally, Toyota has contributed towards payment of FIA affiliation fees.    

“We shall be announcing further sponsors during the next few weeks and we would again like to thank the business community for their continued support for motor sports in Zambia without which we would be unable to develop motor sport in Zambia,” he said.

Scrutineering would be held at Autoworld Downtown outlet on September 12, at 08:00 hours local time followed by ceremonial start from Holiday Inn at 14:00 hours then spectator stage at the Lusaka Motor Club in the Showgrounds at 15:00 hours. 

On September 13, cars would rev off from Holiday inn at 07:00 hours finishing at the same venue the following day at 15:00 hours.

“Competitive stages will be in the Chisamba, Fringilla area on Saturday (September 13) and The Barn Motel area on Sunday. Service parks on Saturday will be at Fringilla Lodge and on Sunday at The Barn Motel,” Conroy said.

The Zambia International Rally would decide winners of the FIA-ARC drivers and navigators’ championships as well as the Africa ‘Pirelli Star Driver’ representative in next season’s World Rally Championship.

Japanese Hideaki Miyoshi and Hakaru Ichino lead the race and have a seven-point cushion on locals Muna Singh and Dave Sihoka while Zimbabweans James Whyte and Philip Archenoul are a further eight points off the pace. 

“In the Pirelli Rally Star African championship, there are only four points between the top three drivers.

“We are therefore looking forward to a very competitive rally this year and we expect at least nine foreign entries from Kenya, Japan, Uganda and South Africa plus 15 or 16 local entries,” Conroy said. 

Among the people who attended the briefing was Kenyan driver, Alfir Khan who arrived in Lusaka Monday from Harare and would be in the Zambia capital Lusaka until after the rally.

Khan and his navigating uncle, Tinu crashed out of the Zimbabwe Challenge after the drive shaft of their Subaru Impreza N10 gave up on competition day two before shortly before regroup.

“We stripped the car and we have actually found the problem. It was the sensor, which wasn’t working well. We knew about it in Zimbabwe only that we discovered that too late.

“I must say that we are very fortunate here in Zambia because we have by like Muna here and his brother Rammy who have been very supportive,” he said.


HARARE, Monday (August 25, 2008)

EIGHT foreign crews representing Japan, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe have confirmed their participation in the Zambia International Rally set for September 12-14 in Lusaka.

And three cars belonging to Japanese, Hideaki Miyoshi, Alfir Khan and Peter Horsey, both Kenyans were expected to arrive in Lusaka on Tuesday ahead of this FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) seasonal closing event.

Miyoshi, who leads the FIA-ARC drivers’ championship race by seven points over Muna Singh, said in an interview here shortly before flying out to Japan that he was geared for the Zambia rally. 

The Japanese is hoping to wrap up what would turn out to be his median African title from the championship to be staged on the farmlands of Chisamba and Lusaka east.

“I have never raced in Zambia before but I hear it is interesting to race there. Since it will be my first time to rally in Zambia, I hope to drive very carefully and get good points,” said the Hakaru Ichino-navigated Miyoshi.

Veteran Zimbabwean driver James Whyte said in a separate interview that his country would feature his younger brother Shaun, who turns out in a Mitsubishi Evo 6.

The Philip Archenoul-navigated Whyte, who himself drives a Subaru Impreza N10, named the others as being the two Castrol Racing teammates, Craig Green and fellow old hand Richard Robinson who races in Evos 4 and 8 respectively.

Whyte, the 2008 KCB East African Rally Challenge (EARC) winner would be contesting both continental and Zim-Zam Challenge points whereas his compatriots would only be vying for honours in the latter competition.

Green was a minute slower than Miyoshi in the Zimbabwe Challenge while Robinson was further one minute 22 seconds off the pace.

“Obviously I am coming for the Zambia rally together with my brother Shaun, Richard, Craig and maybe another crew, which means four to five crews will travel from here,” he said.

South African, Jon Williams also confirmed his participation, and just like Miyoshi, the 25-year-old Cape Town-based driver would be making a debut in the Zambia rally.

Williams, who drives an S-2000 VW Polo, said he would be aiming at winning the newly introduced ‘Pirelli Star Driver’ African race.

The FIA introduced the competition in order to promote drivers between 18 and 27 years by offering them scholarship to race in some round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) series in 2009 and 2010.

The Pierre Arries-navigated Williams was delighted with his good run in the Zimbabwe Challenge whose outcome has put him to within two points behind new race leader Peter Horsey of Kenya.

“We did what we needed to do here and because of that we are very very happy with our performance. We are now going flat out in the final rally in Zambia to win the Pirelli Rally,” Williams said.

Horsey took over the reign from countryman Khan who retired from the weekend rally after the drive shaft of his Subaru N10 packed up in the penultimate stage of competition day two.

Meanwhile, Miyoshi’s Evo 9, Khan’s Subaru N10 and Horsey’s Evo 8 are today expected to Harare for Lusaka ahead of the Zambia International Rally.

The three cars and service vehicles would be based at Automotive Panel Beaters, a workshop owned by 2004 and 2005 FIA-ARC champion Muna.

An estimated 10 Zambian crews, including Muna and Sihoka, the only Zambians eligible for score FIA- ARC point and Sihoka, would take part in the home rally.

The rally revs off on September 12 with crews tackling an approximately five kilometre twisty super special stage in the heart of the capital city at the Lusaka Motor Club (LMC) track in the Showgrounds.

On September 13, stages would be run around Fringilla farm in west of Lusaka whereas the final stages on September 14 would be centred on the farms located on the opposite side of capital near the Lusaka International Airport.

Muna and Sihoka are the reigning champions of the Zambia round of the continental championship. 

ZAMBIAN ESSA BUYS 2006 FIA-ARC WINNING SUBARU By IGNATIUS MAZEKO - LUSAKA, Monday (July 28, 2008)TEENAGE Zambian driver Mohammed Essa has bought the 2006 FIA-African Rally Championship (ARC) winning Subaru Impreza N11 from compatriot Paul Monge for a reported US120, 000.

The Total Zambia-sponsored Monge is himself said to be pursuing a Super 2000 Toyota RunX.

Monge bought the car from Belgian, Patrick Emontspool after the 2006 Zambia International Rally when it had already done enough damage to secure the African title.

Both Monge and Mohammed’s father Khalid, a retired Zambian rally driver, could not disclose more details of the deal although what is certain is that Mohammed is aiming for the Pirelli Star Driver scheme.

The scheme is a worldwide programme that is aimed at giving two sets of five young rally drivers from the FIA regional championships in 2008 and 2009 the opportunity to compete in a series of six WRC races respectively in 2009 and 2010.

Two drivers will be drawn from a Shoot-out race involving 18 European countries that organize a round of either the WRC or the European Rally Championship while one each will come from the ARC, Asia Pacific Series and the Middle East Championship. The FIA also hopes to expand the programme into South America in 2009.

Successful drivers will then enter the WRC races driving identical Group N or S2000 cars supplied and serviced under an FIA contract with a specialist preparation company.

The competitors must be under the age of 27 on January 1, in the year of the regional championship.

“We have bought this car so that we can do the whole ARC calendar next year and also the Pirelli Rally,” Khalid said.

Mohammed bought the car last week and used it yesterday to comprehensively win the third round of the Zambian championship, The Barn Rally, to go top of the drivers’ race after opening up a two-point lead from Charles Kapya.

Among the nine that entered 244.25-kilometres long The Barn Rally was 2004 and 2005 African champion Muna Singh, who finished fourth in a borrowed and faulty Group S Toyota Celica owned by his brother in-law Logan Naidu.

Coincidently, Mohammed has struck an undisclosed sponsorship deal with Madison General, a Lawrence Sikukwa & Associates (LSA) subsidiary insurance firm that also sponsors Muna. Madison is also the official insurer of the Zambia International Rally.

“That is a proper car, not that piece of junk which I was driving. You will now see what I am capable of doing with a better car,” said the beaming 18-year-old Mohammed.

The car has already being re-branded in the LSA Group corporate colours although the top of the front windscreen is still spotting the red Total straps said to be continuity from Monge’s sponsors. 

Mohammed finished second behind Muna in the 2007 Zambian and Zim-Zam championships barely two years after switching from motorcycle racing at the end of the 2005 season after emerging quads national champion.

With two rounds after it was introduced in Africa, the Pirelli race is being led by Kenyan, Alfir Khan, who has gathered 18 points followed by countryman Peter Horsey on 14 points, then South Africa’s John Williams on 10 points and Tanzanian Navraj Hans on six points.
The FIA regions, working with all their National Sporting Authorities (ASNs), will be provided with development assistance to promote their regional championship and help competitors contest their events.

The project will also provide funding for personal development, fitness and safety programmes, as well as additional promotional opportunities.
During 2008 and 2009, ways in which to develop the scheme - including the opportunity for the most successful Star Driver to be offered a test-drive by a registered WRC team - will be studied.

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