KUALA LUMPUR: Entrepreneur Rabin Nijhar has created Malaysia’s new motor rally team, Cisco Racing, to mark the comeback of decorated driver, ‘Flying Sikh’ Karamjit Singh.
The managing director of security firm, Cisco (M) Sdn Bhd, said the team will be powered by Karamjit who was out in the cold over the past three years due to lack of financial support.
Rabin also hopes to help revive motor rallying in the country and produce a new breed of rally drivers.
At the unveiling of Cisco Racing yesterday, Rabin described Karamjit, the 2002 world rally champion, as one of the best examples of a resilient sportsman who exuded fearlessness in his prolific career.
“As we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia needs a comeback story to rally behind, and I believe Karamjit is that story,” he said.
“We are fascinated by his endurance, his incredible belief in himself and can’t wait to get started to give Malaysia a great inspiring story.
“Karamjit has it in him to win more races and that will help restore the motor rally scene and motivate a new generation of drivers.”
He said a victory by Karamjit and his co-driver, Jagdev Singh, at phase one of the national rally championship in June will accomplish Cisco Racing’s first stage goal of redevelopment of motor rallying.
Rabin said the bigger plan was for Cisco Racing to tie-up with bigger players and to attack the world stage.
“We need strong partnerships to make the initiative succeed and are in discussions with certain parties to come aboard,” he said.
Rabin said an FMT story on Dec 10 last year, “Where’s the respect for rally superstar Karamjit Singh?”, spurred him into action just as he was looking for an exciting opportunity after the outbreak of the virus.
Embracing his credo not to “give up”, he brought Karamjit, who was on the verge of becoming an e-hailing driver, under his wings.
Karamjit, the National Sportsman of the Year the same year he became world champion, said yesterday he was confident he could be the national champion driver for the 17th time.
He will make his comeback at the national rally championship in Sepang on June 26-27, reuniting with Jagdev, whom he first partnered in 1997. The four-round championship ends in November.
Karamjit, 59, said rallying was his job for 33 years and that he was looking forward to “getting back into the groove”.
He did not disagree that his faithful Proton Gen 2 rally car with which he has had a good run was “tired and on its last lap”.
He said although he would want to drive a new car, the 14-year-old Gen 2, once used by the Felda Rally Team, would be completely rebuilt.
Karamjit said he was confident that together with Jagdev, they would be first across the finishing line.
Jagdev said he was thrilled to partner with Karamjit once again and thanked Cisco for giving them the opportunity to get back into competition.
“We have done many rallies together both locally and internationally, winning nearly every event we had participated and I am looking forward to reigniting our winning combination,” said Jagdev, who quit rallying in 2015 after 30 years of thrills on tarmac and wet tracks gravel.