Headed for success: SA’s Max Smart wins African leg of FIA Rallystar contest


Source: iol.co.za

Max Smart (20) from Cape Town is the latest in a line of South African motorsport stars heading for the big leagues in international events, having won the African leg of the FIA Rallystar competition.

The FIA is the world controlling body for motorsport and instituted Rallystar on a global basis to find new, young talent in the thrilling world of rallying – and Smart eventually topped the tables in Africa after a couple of hiccups along the way.

Always a motorsport enthusiast, his grounding was on two wheels in the rough-and-tumble world of motocross which, he says, stood him in good stead when it came to the final rounds of the Rallystar competition.

“The competition ran for nearly a year with several phases,” says Smart. “Initially, entrants from all over Africa could compete from home online in eRallying with each round eliminating some. This was then made tougher when Rallystar brought proper simulators to various venues around the continent.

“I managed to finish second overall for Africa having made a small error on the final corner of the online special stage. Fortunately, I was invited back for a second round and, again, finished second after being too enthusiastic.

“When the competition moved to actual driving in the form of a slalom test at Killarney Raceway in Cape Town I was determined not to make any mistakes – but this meant I was not quite quick enough to win and I thought my dream had evaporated.

“Then came the big surprise when they called me and said I had been given a Wild Card entry to go to the South Africa final.”

This event comprised three days of exhausting mental, physical and driving skills testing using TN5 Crosskart machines brought in by Rallystar – these single-seater ‘buggies’ powered by a motorcycle engine are hugely popular in Europe.

“On the first day I took it calmly and let my racing experience from motocross guide me,” he says. “I finished up fourth overall but confident I could still go out and win overall. On the second day, I placed second overall and on the final day, with the contenders whittled down to 12, I drove well and, although I did not win outright the one competitor quicker than me was penalised for hitting a cone so I won the Africa Final.”

The winner from each of the six regions in the competition will form part of the Rallystar Team and compete in six full-scale rallies in Europe during the next few months – the first being the San Marino Rally starting on June 16, where they will drive 1.5-litre Ford Fiesta Rally 3 cars run by M-Sport Poland.

“This will happen after we all gather in Sardinia for a 10-day training camp where we will have gravel road driving instruction, learn more about the engineering that goes into a rally car and how to do a rally recce run,” he says.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be representing South Africa and cannot wait to get started.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com
Skip to content

Contact to us