Four Cambodian Taxi Drivers Star in India-Asean Car Rally

The first-ever India-Asean Car Ral­ly begins today, with four Cam­bodian taxi drivers among a national team of 12, who will motor their way from India through eight countries to their final stop in Indonesia.

The rally, hosted by the government of India to promote tour­ism in the region, begins in Gu­wah­ati, India, with a total of 33 vehicles and more than 100 participants from 11 countries.

Spending two-and-one-half weeks on the road and driving over 8,000 km, the teams will travel through Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ma­lay­sia and Singapore before finishing in Indonesia.

David Harrington, a racing ex­pert hired by the Ministry of Tour­ism to manage the Cam­bo­dian team, said that finding professional or experienced Cam­bo­dian drivers with a passport, driver’s li­cense, driving experience—and the luxury of going three weeks without pay—was difficult.

Faced with little time to put a team together, Harrington picked four taxi drivers to join.

“At first I was apprehensive be­cause they are taxi drivers,” Har­ring­ton said. “But when I met them they were well-presented.”

Over the past two years, Har­rington has been trying to promote motor sports in Cambodia. Dur­ing the Khmer New Year in April, he organized the “Wat Phnom Grand Prix” go-kart race in Phnom Penh.

All expenses for the rally will be paid by the Indian government, Har­rington said.

Team member and taxi driver Kim Heng said costs were the least of his concerns. “I am worried about driving on the right [side of the road], since I’m used to driving on the left,” Kim Heng said, anxious that the In­dian-provided 4WDs, in which they in­tend to traverse the continent, could have right-side steering wheels.

Cambodia’s team will drive three vehicles. Each driver will alternate every two hours on the road, Harrington said.



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