During a recent foray to Europe to compete in the Neste Rally Finland, Saladin Mazlan (pictured in his Ford Puma)was offered an opportunity to test a World Rally Car in the UK.

Naturally this offer was accepted with much anticipation, and both Saladin and co-driver Tim Sturla made themselves available for what turned out to be a lengthy test of the Hyundai World Rally Car on a typical British forest stage. Prepared by Motor Sport Developments (MSD), this was a current specification car, as used by the Hyundai factory team.

"Having a chance to drive a car developed to highest possible specification is obviously every rally driver's dream," an obviously excited Mazlan commented afterwards.

"We had ample opportunity to test the on-board differential and anti-lag adjustment features, and were pleased to be able to provide feedback to the engineers" he continued, "I was able to modify my driving style to extract the maximum performance from the car, and hope soon to be able to use a car like this in a World Championship event."

The managing director of Saladin's team, Ali Mazlan was present at the test, and noted that "an opportunity like this is equivalent to a racing driver testing a Formula One car. In fact, it is interesting that Alex Yoong and Saladin have had similar opportunities within a month of each other. It shows that both of their careers are moving in the right direction, and that their sponsors' and supporters' assistance is justified."

"As far as we know, this is another first for Malaysia, as it's very rare for a driver to be entrusted with a car worth in excess of RM2 million!" he continued, "We're very grateful to MSD and our Super 1600 preparation company Rally Engineering Development who made the arrangements. Hopefully it won't be long before our Malaysia-based team will be campaigning a World Rally Car on a regular basis."

Following further testing of the Super 1600 Ford Puma this month, Saladin and Tim's next outing will be on the WRC's San Remo Rally between 5-7 October. Shortly afterward, the team will head to Corsica for the V-Rally Tour de Corse, and then onto Wales for the Network Q Rally of Great Britain in November.