Estonia’s Raak wins 2019 Ondo Auto Rally
Estonia-born Argo Raak over the weekend won the third edition of Ondo State Auto Rally organized by Motorsports group ‘Work and Play’ at Ilara – Mokin.
The race, which paraded some of the best off-road racers in the country, took place at the new purpose-built Off-Road Track, that the organisers have said would be the home of the Work and Play group’s flagship event.
The event got support from, SMT Volvo, Toyota, Elizade, Airtel, JAC, Dinkkiia, Meristem, Monster Energy Drink, Tomi Homes, The Federal Road Safety Commission and the Ondo State Fire Service.
Raak, whose off-road buggy crashed to deny him a podium chance at the 2018 edition, said he was fully prepared for this year’s championship.
“I have put in a lot in preparation for this year’s edition, practicing for two months and I am very delighted to return the best time at this year’s event,” he said after being declared the winner of the event.
President of Work and Play, Adeoye Ojuoko said the event has been getting better, adding that its success belonged to every member of the not-for-profit group that has kept the vision of promoting motorsports development alive in Nigeria.
“This year’s edition was quite different, in that; we were able to have a well-established off-road challenge that was well controlled, minimized all forms of risk as well as tailored to international standard,” he said.
The new track is full of diverse characters that made the race challenging, including an enduring seven-meter long muddy ditch, which complimented challenging topography and water hazards.
“This is the track for any racer willing to test his endurance, patience, and focus,” he added
Raak’s victory with 2:52:25 minutes in five laps won him N500, 000 and set a five-lap record for buggies on the newly launched track. Kurdyasv Eugene lurked behind him in sub 16 seconds (at 3: 08:06) to place second leaving Ralp Tupas and Kingsley Uwatse for the third and fourth places respectively.
Femi Dada, who hoped that his hybrid buggy “Mental” was going to impress at the event, was disappointed with the toughness of the track, so, also was Richard Ike too.
Minister for Woks and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Chairman, Elizade Nigeria Limited, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo were guests at the event.
Fashola in his opening remark enjoined the sportsmen to embrace fairness while praising the innovation of the Work and Play Team.
Chief Ade-Ojo, on his part, pledged the support of Toyota and encouraged the youths to engage in positive activities that could promote the development of the country.
The next edition will come up on April 11, 2020 at Smokin Hills resort.
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