Team MRF and Red Rooster Racing face off yet again in the Karnataka-1000 Rally, the fourth round of the Speed-Indian National Rally Championship to be held at Sidlaghatta, about 80 km from here Friday.
The event is also being run as a contender for the Asia Pacific Rally Championship and, as such, assumes considerable significance, though the haphazard planning and execution could well preclude entertaining hopes of securing an international status.
The presence of two Sri Lankan drivers, Reyaz Farook and Ashan Silva, both in Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution cars, lends the event an “international” flavour.
Only the two foreigners will do the APRC distance of 225.40 Kms while the others will cover the INRC distance of 151 Kms of Special Stages.
Red Rooster’s VR Naren Kumar (co-driver D Ram Kumar), a former six times National champion who is returning to the sport after a two-year break, currently heads the championship with two back-to-back wins in Coimbatore and Jodhpur after dropping out of the season-opener at Nashik where Team MRF’s Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) won.
Gill, however, retired in the next two rounds and thus, has plenty to do to catch up with Naren Kumar and a fractured wrist and thumb have made the 29-year old’s task doubly difficult.
“Last week, I went to Coimbatore to test the car, but could manage only 300 metres as the pain in my wrist was unbearable. However, I hope to do well here in Bangalore and I will taking pain-killers and using the magic spray to help me get through the event,” said Gill.
The Delhi-based tearaway suffered the injuries after a massive shunt in final round of the APRC in China last month when his Evo-10 flipped and was left hanging precariously on a bridge.
In contrast, Naren Kumar is fit and ready for another hard contest and aiding him are the new sets of Yokohama A035 tyres that were imported from Japan that offer greater grip and hence allow the cars to go faster.
Both Gill and Naren Kumar lead their respective teams in the premium 2000cc class (N+) in a Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia.
Lined up behind Naren are former National champion Vikram Mathias (co-driver PVS Murthy) and Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik), while MRF, besides Gill, are fielding Lohitt Urs (Shrikant Gowda), Arjunrao Aroor (Satish Rajagopal) and Arjun Balu (Sujith Kumar BS).
In all, 41 vehicles will take the starter’s flag Friday.(IANS)
K-1000, a jinxed Rally
Thursday 2nd December, 2010 (IANS)
The Karnataka-1000 Rally, a part of the Speed-Indian National Rally Championship, continues to be jinxed. The latest edition starting here Friday and being run as a contender event for the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, has again thrown up organisational shortcomings that has led to considerable misgivings among the participants.
The talk in the Rally circles here with less than 24 hours for the start of the event was not so much whether Gaurav Gill of Team MRF would be able to catch up with championship leader VR Naren Kumar (Team Red Rooster Racing), but as to whether one of the four Special Stages should be run at all.
Following Wednesday’s reconnaissance run, a written plea, signed by almost all participants, was submitted to the organisers seeking cancellation of the contentious ‘Clay Special Stage’ of 24.35 km that was described as fit only for two-wheelers and not cars.
In fact, Team MRF’s Lohitt Urs submitted yet another letter on behalf of his team Thursday expressing concern over the safety of the Clay SS.
To top it, Thursday’s official ‘shakedown’ session was disallowed by APRC observer Murray Brown due to the absence of an ambulance and a fire extinguisher. By then, a couple of Rally cars had completed the shakedown lap and the others were left fuming when Brown put a stop to the proceedings.
The incident did not reflect well on the organisers, the Karnataka Motor Sports Club, whose officials are already confronted with the tricky situation of the Clay Stage that the participants want cancelled.
Naren Kumar, the six times National champion who is returning to competitive driving after a two-year break, said: ‘The Clay Stage is definitely not safe because of its layout that can see two cars running into each other from different directions.
‘Also, there were changes being done to the Stage even as we were doing the reccee Wednesday. This is totally unacceptable as our pace notes go for a six since the contours of the terrain besides the corners could change. It is better that they cancel this Stage.’
Gill, who is nursing a fractured wrist and thumb following his crash in the China round of the 2010 APRC last month, expressed similar sentiments and asserted that the Clay Stage was unfit for a four-wheeler.
‘The Stage is far too dangerous and worse, very tight and twisty,’ Gill said and added in a lighter vein: ‘Perhaps, I should bring my motocross bike!’
In the past, the K-1000 Rally, traditionally held in the second week of August, had always been beset with problems and the jinx remains unbroken this year.
A harassed Bharat Raj, one of the promoters of the series, was at pains to explain the lengths to which he went to lay out a route and said that the Clay Stage would be ready for the event.
Rocky start to K-1000 Rally
Published: Friday, Dec 3, 2010, 0:55 IST
By Vivek Phadnis | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNAhttp://www.dnaindia.com/sport/report_rocky-start-to-k-1000-rally_1475735
The participants in the K-1000 Rally may perhaps not have had so much to think about before an event. Setting aside their worries about preparing for the fourth round of the Speed Indian National Rally Championship, the drivers and navigators have been thinking a lot about the conditions of the Special Stages.
What complicates things is that this is a contender round for the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). Two International Automobile Federation (FIA) stewards (Steven Kennedy and Allen Oh), FIA delegate Martin Willard and APRC coordinator Murray Brown are all here to witness how things go.
With the competitors up in arms about the second stage (Clay stage) being rough and changes being made to it even as the recce was on, a positive report from the foreign delegates is indeed doubtful. In fact, the drivers are all united in their demand for the second stage being called off. One of the main reasons they cite is safety as the marshalling had not been up to the mark during the recce. All the while, the organisers have been maintaining that the stage is fine.
On Thursday, the shakedown was stopped as the ambulance had not arrived yet. Red Rooster Racing’s VR Naren Kumarcurrently leads the overall championship with 27 points.