Bandar Seri Begawan - It was a nerve wracking yet thrilling moment for the GHK 4x4 Driving Experience guests, as well as members of the media and some lucky customers yesterday, as they rode through muddy hills and slopes.
Organised by GHK Motors Sdn Bhd, who specially flew in two-time World Dakar Rally Champion Hiroshi Masuoka for the event, and with the assistance from the Gabungan Berwawasan 4x4 Daerah, the event was conducted at the Tanah Jambu 4x4 driving arena.
Yesterday afternoon's driving experience turned out well as some registered participants were lucky enough to be selected on the ride with the highly experienced Masuoka while the rest had no less driving experience opportunity with 4x4 marshals.
A Japanese rally driver for the Mitsubishi Motorsports Team, Masuoka's notable achievements are back-to-back successes in the Dakar Rally 2002 at the Arras, France-Madrid, Spain-Dakar and Senegal rally, and in 2003 at the Marseille, France-Sharm Al-Sheikh and UAE rally, marking the only fourth driver in the event's history to win in consecutive years.
Masuoka was also victorious in the 2003 Baja Italy and the 2004 UAE Dessert Challenge, and the Dakar Rally 2007 was his 20th consecutive participation in the event.
He finished second in the Electric Division behind the wheel of the i-MiEV Evolution, which was his first-ever entry in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb that took place in Colorado, United States, early last month.
The Dakar Rally is an off-road endurance race called rally-raid rather than a conventional rally whereby the terrain the competitors traverse on is much tougher and vehicles used are true off-road vehicles rather than the modified on-road vehicles used in rallies.
Special sections of the competition are mostly off-road, crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks and dirt where the distances of each stage covered vary from short distances up to 800- 900km per day. The inside of the vehicle cabin temperature can average at about 50 degrees Celsius.
The 4x4 Driving Experience will continue today and tomorrow at the same venue to accommodate the many number of registrations for the event.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin