CAIRO: Contestants in this first ever Egypt Rally Cup completed their two-day challenge on Feb. 20-21, turning what seemed to be remotely possible into a great success.
The brainchild of Abdel-Hamid Abou-Youssef, a veteran rally champion, the Rally unfolded over two days targeting an enthusiastic Egyptian crowd.
Its aim is to have Egyptians race each other to fortify the Egyptian Team that would eventually compete at home and abroad in rallies such as Pharaons, Paris-Dakar and the Africa Race. The Egyptian Federation of Motor Sports was inaugurated in July 2008. Eight months later,
10 teams of rally cars gave Egypt hope, as they entered a baja format challenge, and completed a 300-km stretch in the Western Desert of Egypt.
The race included five point-to-point special stages and one Grand Prix loop stage with four dune crossings. Navigational skills and team work were essential to finish without penalty time.
The nippy weather played havoc with visibility at moments, but overall it was a fun experience for all. Golden cups were distributed amongst winners at an elegant prize-giving ceremony at the Seasons Country Club. The inevitable overall winners and winners in the modified car category, were the passionately competitive Azzam El Farouqi and co-pilot Hany Sherif Omar in first position followed by the dynamic duo Ahmad El Sirgany and co-pilot Alain Besancon. Hany Madbouly and co-pilot Alfred Malkon, who decided to enter the race 48 hours before the event, came in third. In the stock car category Adham Mostafa and his co-pilot Hisham Saeed came first; Tarek El Arian and Karim Anis, novices in the sport, were the runners up in second place, while Mohamed Antably and Hakam Mohamed came third. Prizes for the Raid were given to Mai El Gammal and co-pilot Hisham Khairat for first position. Sherif Zein and Shahira Mobarak were given prizes for special efforts.