With the Oriental Coast Rally taking place this weekend in Marsa Allam, organized by Bosla in collaboration with Orientals for Urban Development (OUD), we had the pleasure of catching up with the men behind all the action – Egypt Rally owners Alain Besancon & Ahmed El Sirgany. Read the full interview below!
- What can we expect from this Oriental Coast Rally in Marsa Allam? Any special preparations?
AB: This upcoming rally is quite exciting because there will be a new challenge for the organization committee and the racing teams in terms of race location. The rally race will take place at the Camping Zone front side by the Sea.
- What is a common challenge that racers usually face in the Desert Stage 2?
AB: Every race is a new challenge with new experiences. However, the most common challenge, we believe, is crossing the finish line fast and safely.
AS: The rally is not a race when racers can afford to be complacent. They have to always keep in mind that navigation is very technical. The rally race program is meticulously prepared and racers have to watch out for obstacles such as large canyons, fast tracks, narrow passes, etc.
- What is your approach to planning a race?
AS: The rally race is a special product of effort and patience of a team of over 60 people. The event usually takes us about two to three months of preparations from venue changes, schedule shifts and racing team changes, etc. The closer the race, the more it becomes like a tidal wave effect.
- What does it take to be a qualified rally racer?
AB: The Rally School is the first step into rally adventure. That is because the rally race is an endurance race. Hence, endurance and patience are key qualities that a rally racer would have to acquire. A qualified rally racer also needs to have in-sync body and mind coordination, attention to details, quick responses, decision making skills, team work ethic and physical fitness.
- What kind of vehicles are allowed in the race?
AS: There are only three kinds of vehicles allowed and they are the modified cars, none modified (stock cars) and Light Weight Vehicles (LWV).
- In your opinion, what characteristics are a must to make a good pilot and copilot team?
AS: This relationship is solely built on team work that balances out ultimate speed and careful navigation.
AB: Unlike other races, you usually don’t know the obstacles you’re about to face during the rally race and that’s why the co-pilot’s job is quite crucial because he is the pilot’s navigation system. A professional co-pilot tells the pilot what lies ahead, where to turn, the severity of the turn, and what obstacles to look out for, and any incidents or accidents that may have occurred further ahead in the stage.
- What advice would you give to new 4×4 contestants?
AS: The Obstacle Course Challenge is not a race; it is about how well you can control your car. It is designed to test your control so that you can improve your off-road driving skills. It’s important always to drive within your ability. Usually taking your time on the trail will allow you to pick a smooth path and allow you time to react to the varieties of terrain you can encounter like moving rocks and logs under the tires.
- Will there be an upcoming rally in the sand dunes?
AS: We are impatiently waiting for rally comeback in the dunes – that is if the Western Desert is permitted of course. For many rally drivers, the sand dunes are a great challenge because you have to have a deep understanding of the desert in order to know how to tackle it.
- What is in store for Egypt Rally next year?
We’re aiming to organize three to four rally race events all over Egypt by the end of 2019. We want to revive the rally sport in Egypt and further extend our rally family!
All focus and intensity is on the Oriental Coast Rally which starts Thursday December 6th and ends Saturday December 8th 2018 in Marsa Allam featuring the following teams: Rahhala Racing, Amino Brothers Racing, Sitra Racing, Racing Traxx, Jibal Rally, Gazelle Rally, The Eagles, Cross Country Rally, FoxTribe, Sahara 1 Racing, Sahara 2 Racing, Angel Wings and Hammer Head racing teams. Let the challenges begin! Follow all the action on CairoNightlife’s Instagram!
Interview Cover (Photo Credits: Trackarazzi Noise)