Two more Indians head to Asia Pacific Rally Championship

The New Zealand event is the fourth round of the 2011 APRC and is considered one of the toughest and most coveted of titles among rally drivers and is to be held July 15-17 at Whangarei, near Auckland.

Takale has been rallying on the national circuit besides participating in events in Malaysia and Thailand. The Pune businessman said it was time he moved up a notch, following the likes of Naren Kumar (co-driver D. Ramkumar) and Arjun Balu (Kumar Ramasamy) who competed in the APRC in 2002 representing MRF and Gaurav Gill (Glenn Macneall), who is currently leading in the APRC series, also driving for the Chennai-based tyre major.
"I am basically following these guys to the next level of rallying and of course, I am quite excited," said Takale who is being backed Pune-based Dreams Group and ABS Fitness, besides lubricant major Pennzoil.

Takale will be driving a 1600cc Proton Satria Neo (2-Wheel Drive) that will be part of Malaysia's Pennzoil GSR Racing Team headed by Gunaseelan Rajoo.

"The car is being prepared by Proton in Malaysia and we decided to do one round of APRC this season. Next year, we plan to do the full APRC circuit provided we get the sponsorship.

"I opted for a 2-wheel drive because that's what we drive in the INRC (Indian National Rally Championship instead of a 4WD, but for now, I am looking forward to the New Zealand rally," said Takale who last year was the runner-up in the Malaysian Rally Championship and is currently leading the series after two rounds with two more to be run later this year.

Sherif, arguably India's best co-driver (also known as navigator), has participated in 200 rallies with 61 victories, including the one at Nashik in the first round of the INRC last week when he partnered Gaurav Gill and won the overall title.

"We decided on New Zealand because of the terrain which I feel is suitable for a first-timer. The Stages in Wangharei are wide, fast and flowing, and depending on a lot of other factors, besides our performance, we will decide on how we go forward next year," said Sherif.

The Malaysian team also has in its line-up the 2002 Production World Rally Champion (PWRC) champion Karamjit Singh who recently won the APRC round in Australia in the 2WD category with Erode’s Vivek Ponnusamy as his co-driver.

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