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African Heritage: This Rally was only a joke for FIA-Standards

Only two participants in the FIA Ranking, only six participants overall - no pictures, no website, only two single press-news and no actual results. No work-teams, no semi-professionals, only the Russian crew Shmakov/Meshcheryakov and the Hungarian crew Kis/Czegledi started in South Africa. Who added this rally to the FIA Cross-Country Worldcup? Could the FIA really count this results for the CC Worldcup ranking?

However, after three days of driving the russian crew Sergey Shmakov and Konstantin Mescheschakov in their Fast&Speed Buggy won the African Heritage rally, which ended on Saturday. The Russian crew overcame a string of mechanical problems to score a historic victory in the 1000 kilometre event. Shmakov and Mescheschakov finished an hour and 16 minutes ahead of Hungarian crew Sandor Kis and Peter Czegledi in the Autosport Club Nissan Hardbody, with the Hungarians also having to overcome a myriad of mechanical gremlins to make it to the finish.

"It was one of the toughest races we have ever driven," said a tired but happy Shmakov. "The conditions were very different to what we are used to, but it was a great experience and a great effort from the team. The technical crew had to virtually rebuild the car after every racing section, and to just make it to the finish was an achievement."

Kis and Czegledi led the event, which started on Thursday and ran in conjunction with the national championship Ford Motorite 400, after racing section two. Early on in the final leg, however, they ran into a clutch problem that cost them a mountain of time and allowed the Russian crew to move into an unassailable lead. "It was very disappointing, but that is the way of racing," said Kis. "It was a very tough event but we are happy to have finished."

But are this results true? We donĀ“t know. The only contact in South Africa mailed us only the results after Leg 2 - and in this the Hungarian Team was leading wide in front of the Russians.

After all - the South Africans have to do their home-work now - because against the other FIA Cross Country Worldcup-rallies Orpi Maroc, Optic Tunisia, Transiberico Portugal, Pharaons Egypt and UAE Desert Challenge this event was only one thing: A joke.

2006/08/06 I 16:14 CET I Editor:

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