The Asia Cross Country Rally 2018 – or the AXCR –wrapped up in Phnom Penh recently with teams encouraged to continue harnessing the kingdom as an eco-tourism and sports tourism destination.
The race, which began 1996 and still growing, saw 29 motorbike participants and 27 car participants take part in the largest annual cross-country rally in Asia. The rally has a loyal following throughout the continent.
Competitors began the 2,400 kilometre race in Pattaya, Thailand on August 14 before making their way to Kabinburi and Buriram. From there they traversed through the Thai-Cambodia border at Aranyaprathet in Thailand and crossed over at O-Smach, a small Cambodian town of Oddar Meanchey province. The route then took racers on to Siem Reap, home of the famed UNESCO-listed Angkor Wat temple complex.
From there racers tackled Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham before wrapping up the race in Phnom Penh four days later. The Asia Cross Country Rally participants route covered various types of terrain like jungles, swamps, river-crossings and desert. AXCR, an FIA certified event, is intended to be a test of driving and navigation skill, endurance and teamwork.
Isuzu D-Max V-Cross Blue Power 4×4 vehicles were the most successful with Isuzu The Land Transport Association of Thailand Team Natthaphon Angritthanon and Peerapong Sombutwong awarded overall winners.
Isuzu representatives expressed enthusiasm for the success of their Thai racers. “Thai and international players driving Isuzu vehicles are the pride of Asia, said Isuzu in a statement.
Also in the top ten were the Isuzu teams consisting of Sirichai Sricharoensilp and Prakob Chawtale, and Wongwirot Palawat and Thanyaphat Meenil among others.
Team Kara represented Cambodia in the rally and finished a respectable sixth overall of 27 participating teams.
“On behalf of KARA team, we felt sorry about unexpected flooded road condition from Phnom Penh to the border, said Team Kara representatives. “But we hope everyone travel safe and enjoy the time here. We thank you to organiser and all participants for choosing Cambodia and we will look forward to welcome AXCR and everyone here in the nearest future.”
Cambodia’s Environment Minister Say Sam Al, in remarks made at a joint dinner on Koh Pich to welcome teams earlier this month, said that Cambodia encourages national and international federations to develop international racing programs in the kingdom.
“Cambodia currently has 7.5 million hectares of protected areas, most of which already have paths and connections. Security is improving across the country, he said.
“Through the international car racing programs, income generated from ecotourism community, and community-based conservation, can benefit Cambodia. These are the goals of the Royal Government of Cambodia,” he added.
He also suggested that future racing events should take in the borderlands of Cambodia from the border of Koh Kong to Pursat, Battambang, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, until the point of the end of Stung Treng and more.