Malaysian Rally Championship gets Reality check

AS many as three lucky graduates of the Zero to Hero reality TV programme will taste action in the Malaysian Rally Championship (MRC) this season, as the organisers maintain an optimistic outlook amidst pressures to change.

While MRC promoters Wheels Sports Management (WSM) continue to build on the publicity of the series, they also indicate that for headway to be made in improving the level of the championship, the support of manufacturers is vital.

The reality show, which is aimed at promoting the sport among the masses via a talent search, training and competitive programme, is geared towards meeting promoters WSM’s goals of promoting the sport. “This is our goal — to get the sport to be more well known and we can do this through TV,” said WSM chief executive officer Raja Nor Mazli Raja Tun Mohar.

Zero to Hero will be aired at 10pm on Astro Ria (channel 104) every Tuesday beginning March 10 and ends an April 7, the week when the first round of the new MRC season takes place in Kuantan.

The Malaysian round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) last year saw local rallying hit a low with not a single entry from the host country. Instead the local competitors lined up for a round of the MRC, which tagged along with the event. This is due to the lack of homologated cars competing in the series and the support of manufacturers is vital to improve this area.

“On the governing body’s side, the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) and the Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM) are already supportive and they can draw the guidelines,” said Raja Nor Mazli. “But as it is, we have only two homologated cars running in the series. To have improvement in that area, we have to work with the manufacturers because they are the ones who produce homologated cars.”

Some support has come from national car manufacturers Proton, at least as far as the Zero to Hero programme is concerned. The winners receive a sponsored Proton rally car, along with incentives from tyre manufacturers Silverstone and a start-up grant from MAM to begin their first competitive season in the MRC.

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