The excitement and anticipation for the 2015 Ford Ranger Odyssey is building rapidly, and the action has spread across numerous African countries, including Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Mozambique.
Following an initial call to action, which resulted in hundreds of entries, a group of finalists were chosen to take part in the Ranger Odyssey evaluation in conjunction with local Ford dealer groups.
The participants had the opportunity to drive the Ford Ranger in a variety of conditions, and were assessed and scored on a variety of factors in terms of brain and brawn during group and individual tasks.
This included testing their driving abilities along with several challenges to assess their interpersonal and communication skills, leadership abilities, interaction and competitiveness. Proficiency in English was also evaluated.
The Nigerian representatives include Giftson Onuiri, who came first in the contest. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in law, and claims to have a big heart and great driving potential.
Onuiri will be joined by Moyo Fawole and John Amadi who came second and third respectively. Both showed great capability behind the wheel of the Ranger and are looking forward to representing their country at Ranger Odyssey 2015.
The fourth and final contestant is Chinonso Okezuo, the winner of last year’s contest. Okezuo was unable to attend last year due to the travel restrictions implemented as a result of the Ebola outbreak, but has been given a second chance, one which he is very grateful for.
Nuno Laureano, a 38-year-old commercial diver from Maputo, made it through the dealer selections in Mozambique, impressing the judges with his outgoing personality. “I love the outdoors and really enjoy taking on challenges, especially finding ingenious solutions for fixing problems,” Laureano said.
He’s already a Ford fan, having driven a Ranger 3.2 XLT for the past two and a half years, and commented how capable and comfortable the Ranger is, both on and off-road. This makes it ideal for his favourite hobbies of spear fishing and travelling.
Fellow Maputo resident Dino de Lemos Ribeiro (34) secured his place for Boot Camp too. The local film producer is also an avid outdoorsman, participating in body boarding, snorkelling, riding ATVs and travelling to every corner of Mozambique on filming assignments and for pleasure.
Ismaël Diarra, a 41-year-old from Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, made the cut due to his extremely active lifestyle and desire for adventure. Diarra is a practising pharmacist and entrepreneur, and is involved in a wide range of sports and hobbies, including scuba diving, swimming, cycling and boxing.
He’s also a keen traveller, having toured through most of West Africa, the US, Europe, the UAE and China. “I always wanted to participate in an event like the Ranger Odyssey,” he said.
“When I saw the advertisement on Facebook I was very excited and decided to enter Ranger Odyssey 2015 as it will be a great lifetime experience. I’m really looking to Boot Camp in South Africa.”
Diarra will be joined by Morou Ouattara Taoua (40), who is married with three children. With over 15 years’ experience in logistics operations and a further eight years as a fleet manager in Abidjan, Taoua has gained extensive international experience and a strong affinity with the Ford brand. He is also an active campaigner for road safety across the region, as well as promoting the automotive industry in West Africa.
“The Ranger Odyssey is a wonderful opportunity for me to develop my dreams into reality,” he said. “Africa is unique and special, and driving in extreme terrain, conquering what seems impossible and experiencing nature are what the Ranger Odyssey is all about.”
A total of 40 contestants from South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa will be chosen to attend the Boot Camp in the Karoo region of South Africa during June. They undergo four days of extensive training and assessment in order to determine the top 20 finalists that will go through to final event in Namibia.
Ranger Odyssey 2015 will take the selected contestants on a life-changing 12-day expedition through the remote and extremely challenging north-western region of Namibia, from 23 July to 3 August 2015.
For the first time, the Ranger Odyssey will feature two elimination rounds during the course of the trip. The two lowest-scoring contestants will leave the group on day four, while another four contestants depart on day 10.
The winner will be selected from the final 14, and ultimately stands to win an Odyssey Ranger for a year, plus an equivalent in local currency of ZAR5 000 worth of fuel per month – a truly spectacular prize!
The Ranger Odyssey website, www.RangerOdyssey.com, will include a leader board that will be updated daily with current scores throughout the main event. However, the organisers will retain an element of mystery and intrigue with the scores and ranking of the top performers remaining secret right through to the announcement of the winner on 11 August at an event in Sandton.
There is an added bonus for fans, family and friends with the ‘Back Seat Driver’ competition that runs on the Ranger Odyssey website, with lots of fantastic prizes up for grabs.
For further information on the Ranger Odyssey go to www.rangerodyssey.com and follow @FordSouthAfrica on Twitter using the #RangerOdyssey hashtag. You can also like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FordSouthAfrica).