15 Apr 08
The Abu Dhabi Spirit Of The Rally award for the 2008 Rally Argentina has been presented to Conrad Rautenbach and his co-driver David Senior.
Rautenbach and Senior brought their Citroen C4 WRC home in fourth overall - the pair’s best result to date in the FIA World Rally Championship - on one of the most challenging rallies of recent years.
The 23-year-old FIA African Rally Champion also became the first driver from Zimbabwe to score points in the World Rally Championship.
The Abu Dhabi Spirit Of The Rally award recognises an individual who embodies the values for which Abu Dhabi stands; respect, team-work, integrity and innovation. It is awarded to those who display these values and make a positive contribution to the rally on which it is presented. The winner is chosen by a panel of experts from within the WRC community.
Throughout the event, Rautenbach belied his lack of experience of both the car - this being only his second event in the C4, and only his fifth ever world championship start in a World Rally Car - and the roads to turn in an historic result. Like many drivers Rautenbach struggled in the fog at the start of the event but with no mechanical problems he made gains on the repeated loops of stages, working his way from 21st to ninth overall by the end of the first day alone. The conditions didn’t improve on day two and with advice to take it steadily from his experienced co-driver Senior, his confidence grew and stage times improved to finally reach the end of the day in a well-deserved fourth place.
Accepting the award, Conrad said; “It was a crazy and incredibly difficult rally but fourth was a fantastic result for us and Citroen, which finished with three C4s in the top four. I couldn’t have done it without David’s [Senior] experience and help and advice. We started the event hoping to finish in the points but fourth was unbelievable and this award recognises all the hard work we and the team have put in to achieve such a good result. I feel like we earned it!”