The Motor Racing Association (MRA) is to kick off the yearís motorsports calendar with the much-anticipated MRA Pelwatte Rally 2009 on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of January. Following a ceremonial start at the AMRC Speed Drome in Battaramulla on the evening of the 21st of January, the competitors will proceed to the picturesque sugarcane fields of Moneragala where the competitive stages will take place on the fast gravel roads of the Pelwatte Sugar Corporation.
The MRA, the only proponent of FIA-standard closed-course rallying in Sri Lanka, will conduct this meet as part of the 2009 National Rally Championship. A minimum of 10 special stages, including 2 night stages, will be conducted.
Over the last few years, the Pelwatte Rally has come to prominence as the fastest rally held in Sri Lanka, with GT-class stars such as Dinesh Deheragoda and Nishan Weerasooria repeatedly averaging over 100 km/h per stage in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, putting this event on par with Production World Rally Championship events in terms of outright speed.
This year, Deheragoda and Weerasooria will renew their intriguing battle from MRA Pelwatte Rally 2007 which was won by Weerasooria and co-driver Sriomal De Silva. Both crews will face a stiff challenge from Novemberís MRA Sevanagala Rally winner and multiple GT champion Aravinda Premadasa in his Lancer Evolution VII. With Deheragoda also due to give his new Lancer Evolution X its rallying debut, a fantastic event beckons.
With regular contenders such as Reyaz Farouk (Evolution VII), Shantha Suraweeera (Subaru Impreza WRX STi), Shafraz Junaid (Subaru Impreza WRX), Dinesh Senanayake (Toyota RAV4) & Javidh Wahab (Honda Civic Type-R) also expected to compete, this yearís Pelwatte Rally promises to be the fastest and most open event in years. Deheragoda and co-driver Mushtaq Ahamed are also out to get a good start to the year in order to maintain their streak of overall rally championships, having won every single title since the inception of FIA-standard rallying in Sri Lanka, in 2002.
Entry forms are available at the MRA Secretariat at No. 5 Havelock Place, Colombo 5. With several holiday resorts in the area and multiple viewing locations along the rally stages, spectators are encouraged to attend this world-class event for a chance to witness high-speed rallying at its finest. The ceremonial finish and prize-giving will be held on the evening of the 26th of January, also at the AMRC Speed Drome.
Spectators are encouraged to attend both the start and the finish at Battaramulla and cheer on the drivers. For further information, contact Dilshan Dodanwela on 0777602618.