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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Budapest-Bamako: Beauty queens will battle Hungarian army.

Zsuzsa Budai, Miss Universe Hungary 2009 and Orsolya Serdült Miss World Hungary 2009 announced their entry into the world's largest trans-Saharan rally as the Miss Hungary Touareg Rally Team at a press conference in Budapest. They will compete in the 2010 edition of the Budapest-Bamako, Great African Run.

"Our goal is to win the race both in the competition as well as in the charity category" - said Zsuzsa Budai, who got her drivers' license less than a year ago. "Our goal is to show that women are just as able to meet manly challenges as men", added Ms. Serdült, who will act as the team's navigator as she doesn't have a license to drive yet. They will compete in the 8500 kilometer desert rally in a Volkswagen Touareg.

The two beauty queens immediately met formidable challengers. The Hungarian Minister of Defence, Dr. Imre Szekeres announced plans fo the participation of the Hungarian army's cross-country rally team, the "Dream Team Cheetahs". On January 16, 2010 sergeant Zoltan Balint and sergeant Barnabas Honfi will be at the start line driving a Nissan Navarra pick-up that completed several Dakar rallies under the stewardship of Hungarian cross-country rally champion, Laszlo Palik. Mr. Palik is also coaching the Cheetahs. Under a 2008 agreement with the Ministry Of Defence Dakar Top 20 finisher, Palik provides off-road driving training for the Hungarian Defence Forces.

The Cheethas were originally to enter the 2010 Dakar, but later chose the Budapest-Bamako. The army's offroad training program found the Budapest-Bamako route more attractive than the 2010 Dakar. "The challenge physically and mentally is just as difficult as he Dakar, but the African terrain resembles the environments of Iraq and Afghanistan where Hungarian troops are currently serving", said Dr. Szekeres, the Hungarian Minister Of Defence.

At the same press conference in Budapest, RTL KLUB the Hungarian subsidiary of European media giant, RTL Group announced that it will air daily reports from the rally. The announcement comes as a major coup since RTL has been committed to broadcasting the Dakar for years. "The Budapest-Bamako has taken the place of the Dakar in people's hearts. The time has arrived to find the place on people's TV screen's as well", said Barna Heder, sports director for RTL Klub.

Although the Budapest-Bamako started as a wacky car race with Trabants, Ladas and ice cream trucks, over the past years it has become a venue for better financed off-road vehicles and semi professional teams. In spite of the changes the rally remains true to its founding principles and allows teams in substandard cult cars or highly unusual vehicles to enter for free. "The Budapest-Bamako's goal is to keep the original spirit of African endurance adventure rallying alive", said race director Andras Polgar, who completed the inaugural Budapest-Bamako in a 1979 Trabant station wagon.

2009/08/02 | 13:45 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Andras Polgar

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