Star Automotive provide assistance to 2016 Mongol Rally team

Star Automotive are thrilled to announce their involvement with and sponsorship of team Is this the right way? who are partaking in the 2016 Mongol Rally.

On 17th July, Dorset based Rowan Akin-Smith and Grant Jenkins set off on a 10,000 mile journey across Europe and Asia to raise money for their chosen charity, UNICEF. Is this the right way? is one of the many teams from all over the world entering this year. From the starting line of Goodwood in England, the teams will drive to the destination of Ulan Ude in Russia. The lengthy event is made even more interesting because Mongol Rally cars must have an engine less than 1.2 litres and are normally old and cheap, which is where Star Automotive come in.

Rowan and Grant approached Star Automotive to help them locate a suitable car. The chosen vehicle was a 1.2 litre Skoda Fabia that had done 70,000 miles but required a bit of work if it was going to endure the unfriendly terrain of the rally.

In May, senior technician Steve Cook helped prepare the Skoda by sorting out the brakes, suspension and engine. Knowing they won’t have help on the road, Steve spent a couple of days sharing some of his extensive knowledge and skills, giving Rowan a crash course in how to fix problems they might encounter on such a long journey across testing surfaces.

Before setting off, Rowan and Grant returned to the Poole service centre to fit the Skoda with various parts. Star Automotive helped transform the Fabia into a well-equipped, durable vehicle by attaching a wire mesh to protect the radiator, a 2mm steel sump guard to protect the bottom of the engine and a steel sheet to cover vulnerable parts. Rally mud flaps were fitted to prevent dirt being kicked up and a bright light bar to improve night visibility. The final addition was a dead switch on the engine to cut the power from the battery, meaning nobody can steal the car without knowing to flick the switch!

The latest update from the team came 10 days into the rally and they are progressing well, having crossed Turkey to reach Georgia. The car is holding up well, getting an impressive 40-45 miles per gallon but they have had a couple of minor setbacks...

They discovered that on rough gravel roads the weight of their luggage caused the car to scrape the ground. Taking action, the chaps dumped some of their stuff and after contacting Star Automotive, the service centre helped them find a garage in Turkey that fitted a block to the suspension to increase road clearance.

It turns out the special rally mud flaps are not so well suited to daily driving...One of the flaps caught on a kerb in a Turkish car park and pulled off the wheel arch liner! Thankfully the performance of the Skoda is not affected even if it doesn’t look quite so snazzy now!

Before embarking on the rally Rowan said: “We really cannot thank the Star Automotive team enough for helping us transform our Skoda into a proper rally car. They talked us through problems we are likely to encounter and more importantly showed us how to fix them! I highly recommend Star Automotive, their knowledge really is second to none!”

If you would like to keep up to date with their efforts, you can read their blog by visiting their page:

You can also donate to their cause by going to their JustGiving page. Any support will be hugely appreciated.

For more information or to interview a member of Star Automotive please contact Harry Double on 01202 888200 /

Images (names L - R)

Steve Cook (Star Automotive Senior Technician) & Rowan Akin-Smith (Rally participant).Rowan Akin-Smith & Grant Jenkins (team - Is this the right way) Hot air balloon over Cappadocia, Turkey.Car stuck on ridge Cappadocia, Turkey.



  • Dakota Digital