Bengaluru, 24 April 2020: The sporting activities all over the world have come to a standstill and it is no different in India. No wonder, the motorsports in India, too, had to bow its head to the epidemic that changed the way people lead their life outdoors. However, with the lifting of the lockdown looming large and the government expected to relax certain activities from May 4, the Champions Yacht Club, the Promoters of the Indian National Rally Championship are looking at June-July to begin the season.
“If all goes well, we are expecting to start the season with the South India Rally towards June-end and the Rally of Coimbatore would be the second rally followed by the Rally of Arunachal as the third round, weather-permitting,” said Vamci Merla of Champions Yacht Club. “We will abide by all the regulations of the government and make sure that all safety and health aspects are taken care of both for the participants, marshals and other officials. We are planning to put up all the competitors in one hotel or nearby areas and ear-mark areas demarcating the gatherings and briefings for medical check-ups. The Madras Motor Sports Club had made all the arrangements and is ready to conduct the event and once the restrictions are relaxed, we will start the season. The first round also doubles up as an Asia Pacific Rally Championship leg,” added Merla.
Over the years, the Indian National Rally Championship has earned a reputation as the flagship event and has commanded the crowd patronage as the top event of the motorsports calendar of the Federation. However, after a lull in the activities, 2019 saw the entry of Champions Yacht Club of Champions Group as the Promoters and the new team has pumped in a lot of enthusiasm and cheer into the event as it arranged sponsorship for different drivers and some part sponsorship for tyres and other necessities. The curtain-raiser before the season was a big hit and the group also took an initiative and arranged training for select drivers, who were not in a position to afford it, under the tutelage of none other than Gaurav Gill, the multiple Asia Pacific Rally and Indian National Rally champion. The king of speed, did his school specially for the group of drivers selected by Champions Group in Coimbatore with Chettinad Sporting providing the technical back-up for the cars. The Champions Group also had their team, which gave a chance to many talented drivers. Thus, last year, almost all the rounds saw a record participation of over 50 cars in all the rounds.
The media in Jodhpur last year, were greeted by a Chennai rally enthusiast Gopi, who was providing voluntary services, taking reporters around. It was a pleasant surprise to see such passionate fans get a chance to take part in the rally this year. “I am very much interested in rallying but never had the resources to pursue my passion. This year, the Champions Yacht Club is sponsoring me and I am excited to take part in my first rally at Chennai. This is a golden chance for me as they are supporting me to enter all the rounds this season,” said the 31-year old Gopinath Ganapathi, said. A few such lucky competitors will get a chance to fulfil their dreams this year, thanks to the sponsorship support by the Promoter.
Vamci Merla thanked the MRF Tyres for providing the sponsorship and extending it this year too. He also expressed his thanks to, JK Tyre, who heeded to their request and sponsored some teams and drivers last year and will continue to do so this year also. He added that the season would have five rounds and after the Bengaluru K1000, the calendar will end with a round in either Chikkamagaluru or Kerala.
Most of the drivers and co-drivers have been taking to social media, especially Instagram to go live and have expressed eagerness to resume rallying. “It is too long and I am looking forward to the first rally,” Gaurav Gill had said.