Finnish stars leave rivals in the
dust to win Thai international rally
Ariyawat Nuamsawad & Saksiri Uraiworn
Two Finnish rally drivers in their Ford Focus WRC05 were the
first past the post to take the Kings Cup in the 20th International
Rally of Thailand 2008, raced from November 28 -30 through a forested
circuit on the kingdom’s Eastern Seaboard.
Arolainen and JoukoPuhakka celebrate winning this year’s Kings Cup Rally
with their Ford Focus WRC05.
As expected, Jouni Arolainen and Jouko Puhakka sped across the finishing
line 1.25 minutes ahead of the second placed pairing of Brian Green and
Fleur Pedersen from New Zealand while Thai racers Wittaya Ruekjan and
Pramote Sornjaradsuwan took third place and the Best Thai Cup.
Well-known rally drivers from Asia and the Pacific basin joined in this
year’s event which was raced over two days around two lakes on the
eastern coast from Pattaya through Rayong and Chachoengsao provinces.
Drivers from the USA, Finland, New Zealand, Japan, and Thailand took
part in the rally which covered a total of 940.11km, with 15 special
timed stages taking place on 184.41km of gravel and unmarked roads. The
first day’s racing at Taatakiab Chachongsao saw the cars roaring off
along set routes through forests and private roads specially closed off
for the event in Mor Sign, Forest Garden and Baan Ta Kloy. Day 2’s
trials included six test sessions raced around a scenic fish pond area
with the drivers clocking up a further 84.45km.
The Finnish drivers Arolainen and Puhakka recorded an overall winning
time of 2:02:52; Green and Pedersen from New Zealand came home in
2:04:17 for second place in their Misubishi Evolution IX, and Thai
racers Ruekjan and Sornjaradsuwan clocked up 2:06:48 in third place.
Champion Joni Arolainen remarked afterwards: “The road conditions are
very much different from the ones in Finland. But the views are
amazingly beautiful and the weather is great. Many thanks go to the
Finnish fan club who have been here for the whole two days. Hopefully
I’ll be back to defend my position in the next year’s Kings Cup.”
Thailand’s first ever Grand Pigeon Race
A sport very familiar to those who come from the north of
England is the latest craze to hit Thailand, with serious money
involved. Last Thursday, the first Thailand Grand Pigeon Race took
place, beginning with the release of over 700 microchipped birds from
Chiang Mai – destination Bangkok! The race was organised by the Thai
Racing Pigeon Federation, the Grand Pet Show and the Friendship
The birds, and their owners, arrived from all over the world as well as
from Thailand to compete for a first prize of 22,000 euros, with the
runners-up in line for 10,000 and 5,000 euros respectively, together
with Royal trophies from His Majesty the King, Her Majesty the Queen,
and the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Before the big race, the pigeons had flown in races in several areas,
including Nakhon Sawan, Phichit and Uttaradit.
The Chiang Mai deputy governor was present at the start of the race and
commented that the colourful and hopefully annual event would attract
tourists to Chiang Mai in the future. A total of 1,666 pigeons were
initially entered for the race, however, over 950 of the bird went
missing during training and the provincial races.
The first prize went to Belgian owner and trainer, Chris Hebbberecht,
with his bird landing in its cage on top of a Bangkok building at 4.06
p.m. after flying the 575 kilometre distance in the fastest time. Sadly,
only 150 birds made it to Bangkok - the present whereabouts of the rest
Chiang Mai Cricket News
Amarit Hans bowls to Tong during the Colts
The pattern was set early in the match between Chiang Mai Colts
and U.N. Irish Pub at the Gymkhana Club a week last Sunday with a
masterly display of batting for the Colts by Thanathit Jiraphanthawong
(Tong). Opening the batting with Peeravat Duangthip (Gun) they compiled
a rapid 50 before Gun was dismissed for 17, but Tong continued his merry
way to a chanceless 70 before being caught at point off the bowling of
Newcomer Shani weighed in with a well-made 35 but the latter part of the
innings was dominated by captain, Jigme Singye who finished with 44
n.o., including two huge sixes, to steer the Colts to a respectable
Nick Hanlon was easily the best of the Irish bowling and finished with
two wickets for 35 while Makki Assadi gave good support with 2/23.
The Irish Pub crumbled early with only Peter Coombes (17) and Nick
Hanlon (15) showing any real resistance and at one stage were 8/ 81. But
then fast bowler Amarit Hans strode to the wicket and made an aggressive
33 n.o. to give the score some respectability to finish all-out for 125.
Easily the best bowler was Jigme Singye with 6/13 from six overs whilst
fellow Bhutanian, Tinmey bowled fast and accurately to take 1/17 from
five overs and he was declared ‘Man of the Match’.
Beginning Saturday December 14 is the International Women’s Tournament
at the Gymkhnana Club with 12 countries participating including China,
Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, and many more. Games begin at 9.30 am
and 1.00 pm and the tournament continues until December 23. Spectators
are more than welcome.