AMW Economy Challenge Rally 2007, a novel experience for Sri Lankan motor sports enthusiasts was successfully held on September 30, 2007. The Rally, covering a distance of 100 km, started from the new Suzuki Maruti Service Centre in Rajagiriya and proceeded along the Sri Jayewardenepura Road, passing Nawala, Thalawathugoda, Hokandara, and Hanwella. The rally passed the towns of Habarakada, Gonapola, Kahathuduwa, Piliyandala, Boralesgamuwa and Rajagiriya on the way back, coming to a successful end at the Suzuki Maruti Sevice Centre amidst cheering fans. People thronged to witness the spectacular sight of the long row of Suzuki Maruti vehicles moving forward while using various fuel saving techniques. As it was a Sunday, contestants faced many hardships due to congestion on roads, tackling both well-tarred highways and dilapidated country roads. Mr. J.N.S.K. De Silva driving a Suzuki Maruti M-800 won the fist place becoming the most thrifty driver on fuel followed by Mr. H.L.A.U. Sanjeewa and Mr. S.G.S. Samaraweera. Suzuki Alto and Maruti 800 cars were eligible to take part in the rally and 40 participants were selected from a large number of applications received by Associated Motorways Limited..
The AMW Economy Challenge Rally 2007 was the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, which selected winners based on the fuel economy displayed by the contestants. The organizers gave the route details to the contestants only 30 minutes prior to the start, thus ensuring the fairness of the final outcome. Other than that, the organizers made it compulsory for the contestants to submit their Suzuki Maruti cars to AMW Service Centre in Rajagiriya one day prior to the event, where the staff thoroughly checked the condition of the vehicles and put a security seal on the fuel tank after filling it.
"I wish to use this opportunity to thank Ceylon Motor Sports Club who dedicated their valuable time to make the AMW Economy Challenge Rally 2007 a huge success. The overwhelming response we received from Suzuki Maruti car owners and motor-racing enthusiasts in general indicates an emerging trend with regard to what is expected from a vehicle. More and more people are now beginning to realize that the fuel efficiency of a vehicle is not an aspect they can take for granted. This is more pertinent in a backdrop of ever-rising cost of fuel where the money used for importing fuel has become a huge burden on the national economy. Suzuki Maruti vehicles have again proved to be the most fuel efficient cars on our roads, which supports the position of Suzuki Maruti in the market as Sri Lanka's No. 1 selling brand new car. I also wish to use this opportunity to thank those who gave their all-out support to again prove the superiority of Suzuki Maruti and also Suzuki Maruti owners who stayed loyal to the vehicle brand throughout years", said Virann De Zoysa Marketing Manager for Suzuki Maruti at Associated Motorways (PVT) LTD .
The officials of the Ceylon Motor Sports Club, the organizers of the rally and motor sports specialists explained rules of the competition together with special safety and fuel saving techniques to the contestants one week prior to the rally.
The 40 Suzuki Maruti vehicles participated in the rally recorded an average fuel consumption level of 20.7 km per litre under the various road conditions. The winner, Mr. J.N.S.K. De Silva, was awarded the AMW Economy Challenge Rally 2007 Championship with Rs. 60,000 as prize money. The 1st and 2nd runner-ups received Rs. 40,000 and 20,000 respectively while all other contestants received certificates and a service voucher worth Rs. 1000. Another feature was the only female team led by Kshenuka Sparamadu won the 8th place while Rukshani Dabare and her fellow driver who competed as a mixed team were able to claim the 10th place.
"Motor Rallies of this kind are highly popular in other countries, which manifests how to surmount the challenge of rising fuel prices. We have been able to add a new dimension to Sri Lankan motor sports with the AMW Economy Challenge 2007, which we hope to continue in the coming years", said Bandula Weerasinghe, President of Ceylon Motor Sports Club.
Motor sports enthusiasts and members of the public appreciated the initiative of AMW to highlight the importance of switching to fuel-efficient compact cars as a solution to the fuel crisis.