PETALING JAYA: Petronas EON Racing Team (PERT) driver Rozali Abdullah secured his first victory when he turned on the power on the final day to clinch the second round of the Perodua-AAM Malaysian Rally Championship in Lumut, Perak, yesterday.
Rozali and co-driver Romzi Hassan won the two-day rally held in the district of Manjung by nearly eight minutes ahead of Gunaseelan Rajoo, whose pace on the second day was slowed by mechanical problems.
Third was Perodua M5 Racing Team's Lim Leong Onn, followed by teammate Kan Chee Hong, a further two and four minutes adrift, while fifth and sixth were Sunthar Saminathan and Adrian Lam respectively.
“It feels great to have finally won,” said veteran driver Rozali who had led PERT's campaign after the eleventh hour pullout of team mate and reigning Malaysian rally champion Jimmy Low.
“The car was great, I was comfortable with the handling and I just went for it. I wanted to make sure that I did not make any mistakes that could have robbed me of victory.”
Victory was even more meaningful for Rozali who is into his third season for PERT.
“This is a victory I dedicate to the team, for all their hard work and their belief in me.”
There would have been however, more to celebrate at PERT,had it not been for Tengku Djan Ley's retirement on special stage 11.
The rookie driver had been running second in the rally until he ditched the four-wheel drive turbo-charged Proton Wira along a slippery patch.
PERT team manager Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood commended Rozali for an inspiring first rally victory.
“He has certainly proven that he can lead PERT's challenge from where Jimmy left off and that is very encouraging.
“Hopefully, it will become the start for many more victories. With four rounds to go, the win has put him in contention for this year's Malaysian Rally Championship driver's title and we hope this will motivate him further,” said Abdul Razak.