The AVT Premium South India Rally, the first round of the FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship, is looking all set to be kicked off. Set to run from March 22-24, organized by the Madras Motor Sports Club, the AVT Premium South India Rally always attracts all the big names with 37 vehicles making up the grid.
The A.V. Thomas Group of Companies is the title sponsor of the three-day event scheduled for March 22-24, which comprises of three physical Special Stages and the thrilling Super Special Stage on the Madras Motor Race Track where the National Racing events are conducted.
Headlining the entry list is 2011 National champion Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) who is leading a three-man Mahindra works team in the introductory SUV category along with Lohitt Urs (Bonnie Thomas) and Sunny Sidhu (PV Srinivasa Murthy), all in the XUV 500 vehicles. Joining the trio is Bangalore’s Sanjay Agarwal (Shiva Prakash) in a Gypsy.
Also for the first time in the INRC will be a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10 to be driven by Delhi’s Samir Thapar who will be returning to the scene after more than a decade with Vivek Ponnusamy as his co-driver. Thapar is the lone entrant in the top end Indian Rally Championship (IRC) category that is open to four-wheel drive vehicles up to 2500cc (excluding turbo).
Adding colour and variety to the grid are three Volkswagen Polo cars which will be making their debut in the INRC. Two of the Polos, driven by Sirish Chandran (Nikhil Pai) and Arjun Rao (Satish Rajagopal) are in the INRC 1600cc class.
The third Volkswagen vehicle, participating in the Junior INRC category, will be piloted by Pune’s Rohan Pawar (Nitin Jacob) who was instrumental in putting together the three-car Team Slideways. In the 1600cc mix is also 2012 JINRC champion Karan AM (Shanmuga SN).
Mangalore collegian Dean Mascarenhas (Shruptha Padival) will be making his debut in the 2000cc class that has reigning champion Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik) besides veterans Rahul Kanthraj (Vivek Bhatt) and Bikku Babu (George Verghese).
Mr. Ajit Thomas, President A.V. Thomas Group of Companies, “We are excited to be associated with the opening round of the 2013 INRC. The entry list for this round boasts the leading rally drivers from India and more importantly a strong manufacturers’ presence. We hope this can help in bringing Rallying in India back to its glory days. The organizers have done an excellent job with the preparation for the event and we are ready to go racing.”
Mr. Manoj Dalal, Clerk of Course, AVT South India Rally, commented, “This is the opening round of the 2013 INRC championship and we are keen to create a benchmark for the rest of the season. After a long time the entry list includes some of the leading manufacturers in the country and we hope to attract even more.
“We were fortunate to have National Racing Champion Arjun Balu test the stages, and more importantly he was very impressed with all the stages. We are keen to improve the show every year and hope the drivers enjoy this challenge.”
The Junior INRC has attracted the maximum entries of 14 as against nine each in the 2000cc and 1600cc and four in the SUVcategories.
The INRC National championship will comprise of two major classes – Group N, up to 2000cc and up to 1600cc. That apart, there will be three other categories – the Indian Rally Championship (4-Wheel Drive, up to 2500cc, excluding Turbo), the Junior Indian National Rally Championship (Group N 1600cc, for those born after January 1, 1985) and the Indian SUV Rally Championship (up to 3000cc, including Turbo).
The total rally distance is about 300 Kms of which 117.5 Kms is the competitive section. The Madras Motor Race Track at Irrungattukottai, is the hub of this rally and it hosts the Service Park as well as the Rally Headquarters besides one of the three dirt track Stages (9 Kms) and the 3.2 Kms Super Special Stage that will be run on the race circuit itself.
The other two physical Special Stages are located on the 700-acre Aavisa Golf complex and the IVRCL premises, with distances of 17 Kms and 11 Kms, respectively. Each of the Special Stages will be run twice on Saturday, March 23 and once on Sunday, March 24.