If ‘Paul' the octopus is being celebrated worldwide for its FIFA World Cup 2010 divination, its mere replica is believed to bring luck for ‘Black Cat,' a car that competed in the ‘AVT Duchess Club All Women Car Rally' here on Sunday.

Four women, all wives of naval officers, formed a team and drove a car, which carried a paper replica of Paul on top. They were among the 65 teams that took part in the ninth edition of the rally, organised by the Madras Motor Sports Club.

The rally, which promised prizes for unique-looking cars, spurred the creative streak in women. MOM (Mothers on Motors), a car with four homemakers, was one such team that stood different. The car, with a Tamil name board fixed atop, was blanketed with messages on population control and tree planting.

True to the theme ‘Be a Sport,' the rally had many cars with a ‘sporty' look. A bright-red car dotted with black-and-white chessboard checks had a phrase on its rear side that read: ‘Chess is as much a mystery as women.'

Enthusiasm among the participants seemed to belie their age. ‘Sporty Fours,' a team of smartly dressed women, were all 50 years and above but exuded the enthusiasm of teenagers. “It is such fun to participate in an all-women event. Winning or losing is immaterial.” says Hamsa Rani, a grandmother and teacher.

“It is incredible to see so many women participating in a car rally. They are extremely competitive in driving cars,” says Ajit Thomas, president of Madras Motor Sports Club. Flagging off the first few cars at Hotel Savera, ace squash player Joshna Chinnappa said it was heartening to see so many women coming forward to participate in sport events. The rally, which covers 80-90 km in the city and its suburbs, would be assessed based on Time, Speed and Distance (TSD) format, organisers said.