When the World Cup Rally sets off from Blenheim Palace on 5 October the Perodua Kelisa will be among the cars facing a gruelling journey through 12 countries in 12 days. The car has been entered by David Johnson of Bridge Garage in Hemel Hempstead, the Perodua dealership for Hertfordshire, and Perodua are certain the Kelisa will pose a serious challenge to the other cars in the 1 litre class. The Kelisa will be driven by David’s sister, district nurse Karen Young, and navigated by their father Bob Johnson who last year guided a car into third place."Perodua UK is extremely excited that Bridge Garage has chosen the Kelisa to compete in the World Cup Rally. We already know the Kelisa is a tough contender in the UK market place and we are sure this will be proved on the world stage," says Tim Slaughter, Perodua UK’s Managing Director.
The route will include France, Austria, Croatia, Yugoslavia and Greece and the Rally will be the first international motor sport event to visit Albania. The Rally is open to any standard production car but as much of the driving will take place in remote areas some changes are allowed to prepare for the challenging terrain. David Johnson has upgraded the suspension, added full harness seatbelts and fitted underbody protection to protect the Kelisa from mountain roads, as well as removing the rear seats to provide room for spares and safety equipment.
"I chose to enter the Perodua Kelisa because it’s very powerful for a 1 litre engine. When I drove the car through Malaysia last year I was impressed by its speed and reliability over long distances," says David Johnson, owner of Bridge Garage.
Driver Karen hasn’t rallied for 20 years apart from a few club road rallies three or four years ago, but she relishes the challenge of this 4400 km journey. She has prepared for the Rally by working out with a personal trainer to improve her upper body strength and endurance levels.
"My job as a district nurse means I’m used to bombing around in small cars and when the gauntlet was thrown down I decided I had to be in the rally," says Karen Young, driver of the Kelisa.
The team hopes to raise money for the charity Diabetic Children of Dorset, which acts as a support group for families of children who suffer from diabetes, and Karen will be publicising their effort on Wessex FM radio. Several of Karen’s friends are also district nurses and to show their support a group of them will be at Blenheim Palace to wave her off on the 5th.Published 27 September 2002