Monday, September 27, 2021

Will Logan Project Return Ivorian Rallying to World Class Status?

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Since the Rallye Bandama lost its status as a WRC round in 1992. Rallying in the Ivory Coast has slowly but steadily declined from being one of the leading rally nations in Africa to its lowly status right now.

Gone are the days when a mere mention of the Bandama Rallye brought both dread and excitement to competitors and fans alike.

In its heyday, the Rallye Bandama attracted competitors from a dozen countries including the world’s best drivers and cars yet in the last several decades this has fallen off sharply and despite being part of the African Rally championship – very few foreign drivers have come to compete at the Bandama Rallye.

Several factors including but not limited to the increasing cost of motor rallying, the economic decline of the country, civil war and a lack of government support all fueled this decline and despite of several promises to provide help – the Ivorian government has remained noticeably absent leaving the Federation of Ivorian Sports Automobile on its own as it attempts to return Ivorian rallying back to its glory days.

Project Logan Trophy is an initiative of the Federation of Ivorian Sports Automobile (FISA) and SOCIDA (a Renault car dealer) with the sponsorship of Bolloré.

Similar to the young driver development programs that kick-started the careers of Sebastián Loeb, Sebastian Ogier, and Ott Tanak, the project which will run for four years intends to find, groom, and mentor young drivers and hopefully turn some of them into world-beaters while at the same time reviving the sport in this West African Nation.

Five identical Renault rally cars that will be used for this project have been acquired by the project’s organizers. Four of the cars will be given to four young talents to compete with and the fifth car will be used for training and to identify the next generation of up-and-coming drivers.

The federation believes such initiatives will attract the government’s attention, plus mega-companies to inject sponsorship into Motorsports for the game to arise to where it was in the 80s as FISA starts the campaign to lobby Bandama Rallye back to the world calendar of WRC.

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