K-1000 to usher in thrilling INRC season

K-1000 to usher in thrilling INRC season

Absence of Team MRF throws the championship wide open; Subaru the cynosure

 For the first time, the Indian National Rally Championship will kick off with the K-1000 as the opening round.

The 38th edition of the event, which was ceremonially flagged off on the NICE Road on Friday afternoon, will once again be held at Siddlaghatta -- about 70 kms from the city centre -- on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday will witness three Special Stages of Clay (11.15 kms), Blackberry (8.6 kms) and Blueberry (10.26 kms) run thrice to complete 90.3 kms of SS rallying while the total distance will be nearly 262 kms with transport section taking up a little less than 172 kms. The 2.6-km Super Special Stage -- to be held at the Bangalore Industrial Exhibition Centre on Tumkur Road -- will comprise two laps with cars running in the reverse order followed by prize distribution on Sunday.

As far as the title contenders and the rest of the chasing pack for the four-round championship go, this season will by far be the most open one in recent memory.

After Red Rooster Racing pulled out the championship a couple of years ago, the INRC was dominated by Team MRF but that trend was bucked once the FMSCI (Federation of Motor Sports Clubs in India) decided to shut-shop the 2000N+ category and the Chennai-based team decided to opt out of the championship earlier this year, thus bringing to end an era of dominance. As a result, holder Gaurav Gill will not get to defend his crown.

The end of the 2000N+ category will mark the beginning for the Indian Rally Championship (IRC) for Foreign cars (Group N, up to 2500 cc).
The category’s debut will witness only one competitor in Zuhin (co-driver Musa Sherif), who will be driving the Subaru Impreza WRX STI, but the former APRC (Asia Pacific Rally Championship) car will be the cynosure at this year’s championship.

New category

The IRC will be run simultaneously with the INRC (up to 2000 cc and up to 1600 cc) besides the Junior INRC. While the IRC has just one entry, the 2000 cc class has 13 entries -- including last year’s runners-up Lohitt Urs (co-driver BS Sujith Kumar) -- while 14 cars will participate in the 1600cc category and 12 cars will be present in the junior section.

Last year’s runner-up in the drivers’ championship, Urs has found a new navigator in Sujith, and the duo will have tough competition from Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driver Ashwin Naik) and Karna Kadur (co-driver Somonnita Ghosh). All three are in the ‘A’ class driving Mitsubishi Cedias.

“The FMSCI took a conscious decision to fund almost Rs 6 million into the championship this year as an investment to maintain the continuity and give you all the platform which all of you are so passionate about,” said Vicky Chandhok, FMSCI president.

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