Scotsman Andrew Cowan and his British team-mate Johnstone Syer, driving a Japanese Mitsubishi Lancer, won the ???9th International Bandama rally which ended in Abidjan on Sunday (18 December).
Scotsman Andrew Cowan and his British team-mate Johnstone Syer, driving a Japanese Mitsubishi Lancer, won the ???9th International Bandama rally which ended in Abidjan on Sunday (18 December). The rally which covers a distance of 5,500 kilometres (3,417 miles) is one of the most gruelling in the world. At the end of it, the International Sporting Commission announced that in future it would be one of the 22 venues for the World Rally Championship.
SYNOPSIS: The Bandama rally, which takes place annually, covers one of the longest and toughest courses in the world, and attracts many of the world's leading drivers. It takes contestants through many villages and over some of the roughest terrain in the country, and proves testing for the finely tuned cars as well as drivers. It also provides the local population with sights that are rarely seen in remote areas.
Many of the drivers taking part in this year's race are well known in the International rallying scene. Joginder Singh of Kenya -- seen here checking in his Mitsubishi Lancer at one of the points along the route -- has won the East African Safari rally 3 times, and went on to finish second in this competition.
But it was another Mitsubishi Lancer, driven by the British team of Andrew Cowan and Johnstone Syer, which won the 1,053 kilometre (654 mile) final stage between Yamoussoukro and Abidjan and picked up first prize after the overall points had been tallied. Cowan is no stranger too African rallying as he has participated in the East African Safari rally 19 times.
Not far behind the winners were Jogander Singh and his co-driver Doughty. The Mitsubishi team did well this year and picked up the overall team prize with three finishers in the first six. This year has been particularly successful for Andrew Cowan. In September he won the world's longest rally, the 30,000 kilometre (19,000 mile) London to Sydney event.
For the winners, the rally had a special significance. It was the last time as an independent event. As from next year it will replace the South Pacific rally as one of the 22 venues on the World Championship circuit.