| Malaysia | 11 Jan 2017 | Asia Samachar |
Karamjit Singh, the Malaysian rally driving ace known as the Flying Sikh, hopes to secure enough sponsorship to buy his own rally car compete regionally this year.
Turning 55 years this year, Karamjit feels he has still many years of competitive rally driving in him. In December 2016, he emerged champion for the 16th time at the Malaysian Rally Championship (MRC), dominating the two-wheel drive category in the Rally of Perak.
“Sponsorship-wise, 2016 had been tough because the team I have been driving for since 2012 – Proton R3 Rally team – has pulled out of rallying. So I had to look elsewhere for sponsors and had to hire a rally car to drive in the rallies,” he tells Asia Samachar.
“Fortunately I managed to get a sponsor for the last two events of the year to continue rallying and win the championship. So, a big thank you to my sponsor Liquimedia for making it all happen for me last year.”
That was one of the back stories as to how Karamjit, along with co-driver Maruthi Ariokiasamy, came to win yet another title at the MRC. Driving a Proton Wira, Karamjit won in all nine stages to pick up the latest title 23 years afer winning the first MRC trophy.
“Eventhough I missed one event in June last year due to lack of sponsorship, I managed to win the championship,” he said.
Described as ‘Asia’s most successful rally motorsport driver’, Karamjit became World Champion in the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship in 2002 on his first attempt at the championship. He also won the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) that same year.
“He was the first Asian to ever become world champion in a motorsports world championship series,” according to information at the APRC rally website.
Karamjit is the only Malaysian to have ever made his mark at APRC, having won it three times in 2001, 2002 and 2004.
For 2017, Karamjit has his eyes trained on the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, should sponsorship permit.
His current sponsor is assisting him to secure more sponsors for 2017 to purchase the team’s own rally car estimated to cost RM180,000. Another RM300,000 will be be required to run the car. This include items like spares, tyres, racing fuel, mechanics, entry fees, transportation, accommodation and engine/gearbox rebuild.
“If we get enough sponsorship, we also hope to race it regionally – Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and India.
Karamjit made his rally debut in 1985 in the Castrol Daylight Rally, thereafter spending the first two years of career competing and winning local rallies as a privateer, according to the APRC rally website. He then later joined the Petronas Eon Racing Team (PERT), a super successful partnership which through the years has propelled him to achieve extraordinary feats in motorsports.
“His dedicated approach and rigidly religious focus on his driving has earned him the respect of the global motorsports fraternity. The unassuming, disciplined and always devoted Karamjit Singh, whose other passion is golf, is always feverishly challenging himself to outdo his last milestone with the ultimate goal of pitting his skills and winning against the world’s best, the attribute of a true professional world class sportsman,” the article added.
Since 1993, Karam has also provided stunt driving and precision driving services for commercials and movies. In these 20 years, he has performed precision driving stunts for various car, fuel and tyre manufacturers. He has also performed as a stunt driving double for several Bollywood movies, filmed in Malaysia and abroad, according to an article in Unreserved (February 2014).
His area of expertise includes anything from high-speed car chase scenes to crashing cars for dramatic effect. Among some of the box office toppers he’s worked in are Mission Istanbul starring Vivek Oberoi and Don: The Chase Begins, featuring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, it added.
In the same article, he was quoted as saying: “The most important part is to know your car inside and out, it’s not about the speed or the type of car you drive. If you know how to handle the car properly, you will be able to manoeuvre it exactly the way you want.”
Karamjit can certainly make do with some help in 2017 to keep his rally championship chase on track.
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
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