Naren confirms entry for World Rally Championship

Naren Kumar recently confirmed his progression from APRC to the P-WRC in 2008. With backing from SIDVIN the former Indian Rally Champion will compete in Greece, Turkey, Finland, New Zealand, Japan and Great Britain. This article from News Post India

V.R. Naren Kumar, the six-time Indian national rally champion from Coimbatore, confirmed his participation in the World Rally Championship (Production Class) here Thursday. Naren, 34, will thus become the first Indian ever to participate in the P-WRC series when he drives a Tommi Makinen Racing prepared Group N-spec Subaru at the Acropolis Rally in Greece in June this year.

‘I am truly honoured to lead the first Indian team for the 2008 Production Car World Rally Championship and am one step closer to realizing my ultimate dream: to be the first Indian to enter and win the World Rally Championship. I will do everything within my power to ensure that Team Sidvin keeps the Indian flag flying high at the championship,’ Naren said at a press conference here.

Motoring Club of Italy to provide logistical support to the team. The Production Class is a rung lower to the World Rally Championship and essentially acts as a feeder series for the main championship. Naren will have in his corner seven-time national champion and his close friend Narayanaswamy Leelakrishnan as the chief engineer and the team will be called Team Sidvin India.

Sidvin Core-tech India Pvt. Ltd., will be supporting Naren’s venture that he was working on for the past two years, but his participation in the P-WRC was virtually confirmed when he test drove a Subaru in England late last year. Naren also had an offer from Fiat Abarth to drive for their works team in the 2006 European Championship and also the 2007 WRC series, but lack of sponsorship forced him to decline the invitation as he could not raise 2.5 million Euros required for both events.

Naren made his international debut in 2001 when he took part in the Asia Zone Championship representing Team MRF and won the overall title. In 2002, he drove three rounds of Asia Pacific Rally Championship before MRF replaced him with a foreign driver following a series of non-finishes. In 2007, Naren entered the APRC series as a privateer with support from Sidvin and achieved a couple of podium finishes that encouraged him to make an attempt at the P-WRC.

‘This is a momentous occasion in the history of motor sports in India. Not only is Team Sidvin India the first Indian team in the Production World Rally Championship, but it is also led by an Indian driver,’ said Mohan Nagarajan, chairman and managing director of Sidvin.

‘Worldwide, there is growing recognition of the fact that India is at the threshold of breaking into the big league of motor sports and we believe that this is one giant step in that direction.’ Tommi Makinen, the four times World champion and the CEO of Tommi Makinen Racing, said: ‘It is a privilege to be associated with the first Indian team Team Sidvin India for the 2008 Production Car World Rally Championship. ‘India represents a great opportunity for the future in terms of Motor Sport, and to be working with a company like Sidvin and Naren Kumar, I feel sure we are heading for some exciting times.’

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