PETALING JAYA: Help came when least expected and former world champion rally driver Karamjit Singh can look forward to a better year.
Datuk Daniel Yew, the executive director of DGJ Capital, personally handed a RM10,000 contribution yesterday after hearing about Karamjit’s situation and interest to make a comeback to competitive rallying.
The 58-year-old Karamjit has not raced in two years and recently had to sell his 16-year-old Proton Waja car for RM7,000 and work as a Grab car driver to supplement his income that has been badly affected by Covid-19 pandemic.
Karamjit, who expressed his appreciation for the financial assistance, intends to use the money to prepare a rally car for the Tereng-ganu Sprint Rally in February next year.
The race in Terengganu will be used to gauge his level of competitiveness as Karamjit is hopeful of making a comeback in next year’s Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
The Youth and Sports Ministry have also agreed to seek sponsors for Karamjit as well.
“If all goes well as planned, the Terengganu Sprint Rally will take place in February and I have a Proton Gen2 car in my home, ” said Karamjit.
“I will use this money to repair the car. I have not used this car for two years and a lot of things need to be fixed but this assistance is a good start.
“There will be a few more local races but I will take things one step at a time as I have not done a rally for two years, ” he said.
To date, Karamjit is the only Malaysian to win a FIA-sanctioned motorsports world title. He partnered co-driver Allen Oh to claim the World Rally Championships Production Car title in 2002, becoming the first Asian to do so in his very first attempt.
Karamjit remains hopeful of making an international comeback next year and needs RM3 million to fund a full campaign in APRC.
“I am open to using whatever car but my first preference is still Proton.
“It has sentimental value as I won all my championships with Proton in the last 20 years and I am already comfortable with the handling. But I leave it to the Youth and Sports Ministry to help with the negotiations, ” said Karamjit.
Daniel said as a motorsports fan, he was moved by Karamjit’s plight.
“I read that he has to sell his home, car and use his EPF savings to fund his rally campaign at one point. I just wanted to help him a bit in these tough times, ” he said.
Karamjit will also have a job waiting for him next year as Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM) plan to hold several rally clinics.
“We plan to start in the second quarter of the year once the situation gets better and Karamjit will be doing these clinics at the Sepang Circuit, ” said MAM secretary Muizz Azli.