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Young drivers fight for slots

By | Published Sun, April 19th 2009 at 00:00, Updated Sun, April 19th 2009 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Feverpitch Reporter

With four slots taken from the northern region for the finals of the Pirelli Young Star Driver Championships in Rwanda later this year, it now remains to be seen whether the southern sector can break the sequence of qualifiers with Indian origin.

Interestingly, three of the four qualifiers belong to the Sikh Community in Tanzania and Kenya, while the other is a native from Madagascar.

Mathieu Andrianjafy of Madagascar and Tanzania’s Randeep Birdi qualified from the Tanzania Rally, while Kenya’s Raaji Bharij and Hanns Navraj of Tanzania emerged as winners from the Safari Rally.

Tanzania and Kenya formed the Northern Region, while Zambia and Zimbabwe are classified in the Southern region. Zambia’s Essa Mohamed, who finished eighth in the Safari Rally, looks odds on to secure one of the four slots from his region, while the other three are unpredictable when the next part of the series kick off.

One had to nominate rallies from the Southern or Northern Region before the start of the championship in order to score a place for the final head-to-head battle in Rwanda for the 2009 Pirelli Trophy. Top two class finishers from each of the four events will be entitled to move to Kigali for the final championship.

Every driver is given 750 Euros (Sh78,000) as appearance fees at each of the four rounds of the series. The winner of the final will be given 3,500 Euros (Sh364,000) in addition to one of the greatest prizes in African motorsports, a ‘works’ drive in the six rounds of the 2010 WRC series.

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Jon Williams of South Africa won the title last year. His reward included participation in six rounds of 2009 WRC in a Mitsubishi Lancer donated by Ralliart Italy.

Apart from Williams, other drivers included Jarkko Nikara (23, Finland); Martin Semer┬Ěd (18, Czech Republic); Mark Tapper (28, New Zealand) and Nicos Thomas (21, Cyprus).

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