Sameen Attanayake and his co-driver Rahal Uluwita with the lowest number of debit points, were the winners of the 17th Rally organized by the Southern Motor Sports Club which was named this year as the Jeep Wrangler Southern Night Rally. This duo gave away only 153 debit points to achieve this great feat for the year 2015. The runners-up were the experienced Sarfraz Junaid and his co-driver Lasitha Rajapaksa with 1222 debit points.
The Jeep Wrangler Southern Night Rally commenced from Matara at 7 p.m. under heavy rains saw the drivers and their co-drivers facing great difficulties. The competitors were to cover a distance of 430 kilo metres in two stages passing through gravel roads, terrains and many other obstacles to reach the final destination the following day.
Sameen and his co-driver Rahal was able to win the first stage which ended in Galle with only 59 debit points. Two of them continued their skilful driving in the next stage from Galle to Matara again having only 94 points. The duo was the only set to come back without any difficulties along this tough route.
The runners-up comprising Safraz Junaid and Lasitha Rajapaksa managed to finish stage one after an aggregate of 76 debit points. Two of them had faced many difficulties during second stage as they ran out of the track while passing through a dangerous terrain but coming out of this situation they managed to be on the track quickly and went on to catch up the lost time to grab the first runners-up position in the overall standings with a total of 1222 debit points.
The second runners-up position was taken by Asanka Ranaweera and his co-driver Sachira Samarasinghe who had 1292 debit points.
Sam Chandrasoma with S.K. Methusanka faced the worst situation during the first stage when their vehicle toppled while driving on a stretch through an estate. The damage to the vehicle was so bad that Chandrasoma intended to give up the fight as it took a very long time to get the vehicle in to position to continue. But his co-driver Lasitha was willing to continue and his encouragement saw Sam agreeing to comply. This brought them good results when they were placed as first runners-up in the second stage.
The most interesting part of the rally was the achievement of Anil Lokugamage and co-driver Lal Wellakkage. They were competing in the Cars Special event in a Suzuki Alto 800cc vehicle. They were participating in a Rally of this nature for the first time and no one expected them to cover the whole distance in such a small car with only an 800cc engine capacity.
The duo using their skills and intelligence underwent all these obstacles without any hindrance. Anil handled the vehicle with great care while his colleague gave him the right guidance to drive through the whole distance.
Their skilful handling of the machine to record a win is surely credit for the company that does the distribution in Sri Lanka. The couple has proven a point though the Suzuki Alto is a smaller car if it is well handled it can give its best to the driver. This achievement has also proved that this vehicle is hardy and can be driven on any surface. These two have given the makers a point to go by to the market showing this good result to its buyers.
The non Rally prepared class was won by Kasun Perera and Rames Malangaga, while the runners-up were Kapila Mahesh/Damuindu Tilekeratne and M.J.M. Ramawickrama/Tachith Eshan.
Mother and daughter combination of Janaki Alhapperuma and S.K Amanda were placed second runners-up in the Cars Special event with 2651 debit points for stages.
In the Novices class it was the double comprising Pranith Manamperi and Isuru Abeysekera (2080 debit points) grabbed the title while the pairs of Anil Lokugamage/Lal Wellakkage (2378) and Kapila Mahesh/Damindu Tillekeratne (5167) were the first and second runners-up in this class.
Results : Stage 1: 1.Sameen Attanayake/Rahal Uluwita (59) 2. Safraz Junaid/Lasitha Rajapaksa (76) 3. K.K.M.T. de Alwis/Kosala Peiris (186)
Stage 2: 1. Sameen Attanayake/Rahal Uluwita (96) 2. Sam Chandrasoma/S.K. Methusanka, 3. Yakub Arif/Aslam Salam (426)
Team winners: 1. Team Jeep, 2. Team Promtech, 3. Team Ironman
Novices: 1. Pranith Manamperi/Isuru Abeysekera (2080), 2. Anil Lokugamage/Lal Wellakkage (2378), 3. Kapila Mahesh/Damindu Tillekeratne (3167)
Non Rally Prepared Vehicles: 1. Kasun Perera/Ramesh malanga. 2. Kapila Mahesh/Damindu Tillekeratne, 3. M.J. M. Ramawickrama/Tachith Eshan
Cars Special Event: 1. Anil Lokugamage/Lal Wellakkage (2378), 2. M.C. Perera/Janaka Ratnayake (2496). 3. Janaki Alahapperuma/S.K. Amanda (2651)
Overall winners: 1. Sameen Attanayake/Rahal Uluwita (153), 2. Safraz Junaid/Lasitha Rajapaksa (1222), 3. Asanka Ranaweera/Sachira Samarasinghe (12476) 4. Aloka de Silva/Meesha Gunewardene (1292), 5. Nalin Premaratne/Rajitha Uluwita (1318)