Red Rooster exit motor sports

“There is only so much you can do. When we launched the team, we had said three years. We spent a total of about Rs 18 crore during this period and it is not possible to keep going unless we get funding from sponsors,” Reddy told IANS.

The Red Rooster Racing were actively involved in the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC), track racing, go-karting and two-wheeler competitions, but last year, they restricted themselves to rallying.

The team’s big success came in the INRC when their lead drivers, Vikram Mathias and VR Naren Kumar won the overall championship titles in 2008 and 2010, respectively, driving in the high-end Group N+ class (Mitsubishi Cedia).

The 2011 INRC is scheduled to commence in the first week of June with the opening round in Nashik, Maharashtra.

“We had approached nearly 25 Corporate houses seeking sponsorship and made detailed presentations. They all showed interest, but eventually, nothing came out of it. I feel sad but not bad that we are exiting considering that we just couldn’t go on spending without any backing. So, we decided to exit the sport and focus on our core business of preparing high performance cars,” said Reddy.

He lamented that cricket had cornered a major chunk of corporate sponsorship in India, and that unless car and bike manufacturers got involved in motorsports, there was little scope for the sport to grow and develop.

“Cricket has virtually usurped sports sponsorship in India. Under the circumstances, we couldn’t secure funding for our motorsports programme. Having said that, I do not rule out our return if we can rope in sponsors, but it will take a miracle to achieve that,” said Reddy.

Reacting to the decision, Mathias said there was not much that he could say since it was a team decision, but he would definitely miss rally driving.

“What can I say? It is a team decision and at this point in time, it does not really bother me as I have to focus on my business, but I will surely miss competing in the INRC,” said Mathias from Masinagudi, near Ooty, where he runs a jungle resort.

Coimbatore-based Naren Kumar said he had already decided to skip this season in view of his business commitments.

“As I am tied up with work here, I had informed Red Rooster that I wouldn’t be in a position to drive this year. Also, I have been rallying since 1993, won seven championships besides Asia Zone title. So, I guess, there is nothing for me to prove at the domestic level.

“But whether I will again wear the driving gloves at all, is a decision I have not yet considered at this moment.”

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