Naren Kumar’s season of frustration continued in New Zealand this weekend, the six-time Indian champion sidelined with gearbox problems with the finish line in sight.
"I was doing so well till this happened. I was running eighth when the gearbox broke. It is a very sad day for me, I was confident of finishing in the points this time", Naren commented.
In fact, it was pretty tough weekend for the ex-APRC driver, his first rally New Zealand getting off to a shaky start when his Tommi Makinen-prepared Subaru left the road on stage 1, side-swiping a series of fence posts and damaging the suspension in the process. But he battled on, and even brake problems throughout the day, made up to 14th place among the PWRC crews.
Saturday was much better for Kumar and co-driver Nicky Beech. Thanks to the problems encountered by some of the PWRC crews ahead of him, Naren was able to make up positions and completed leg 2 in ninth place, just one position away from earning his first PWRC championship point.
But the gearbox in the Team Sidvin car failed after he completed the first pass of the famous Whaanga Coast stage, a disappointing end after battling back into points contention on day 2.
However, there is still plenty of optimism in the Team Sidvin camp, particularly from the man behind India’s first PWRC team, Mohan Nagarajan, who is confident the teething problems encountered with the all-new Subaru GRB Impreza can be sorted. "We are sure we will be able to solve these issues very quickly. We are looking forward to the Japan round where we will be introducing various developments".
The PWRC category was won by Martin Prokop, the Czech driver leading home a trio of Mitsubishi Lancers. The WRC and PWRC crews continue their swing through the Asia-Pacific region, with Rally Japan starting on October 31.