Letter from the President
Chennai, 18 October 2013:
We are in the midst of one of the busiest months in the year for motorsport in the country and it is great to see everything moving in the right direction. The entire motorsports industry is buzzing with excitement as we are less than a week away from India’s biggest sporting event. As I write this the team cargo is just arriving at the Buddh International Circuit. So let the games begin!!
Attending the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Dubrovnik provided a great insight in to all the great work that is being done by the FIA across the world. This might get repetitive but I never get tired of saying how proud the entire Federation is of the Indian representations on the world bodies. It is fantastic to see how far we have come in the world of motorsport with so much presence in the various commissions. Shivu Shivappa represents the FMSCI on the FIA Rally Commission, Farhan Vohra on the Circuits Commission, Prabha Shankar on the Volunteers & Officials commission, B Vijayakumar, Balakrishnan & Anand Jayachandran on the Single Seater commission, Manjeev Bhalla on the Cross Country rally commission, Karun Chandhok on the Drivers commission, J Balamurugan on the Drag Racing commission, Anand Sashidharan on the FIM Legal commission, Roop Kumar on the FIM tech commission, Shyam Kothari the FIM representative and of course Vijay Mallya on the world council.
With unconditional support from the FMSCI members and governing council the team is doing India proud! Personally, it’s a wonderful feeling. FIA also gives special focus to developing ASNs across the globe. It is structured around four key building blocks for the establishment and running of a successful ASN, highlighting the need for competent structure and event organization, solid licensing, training and sport development. The FMSCI will also work closely with the FIA in growing grassroots motorsports and making it more affordable for young driver.
We were fortunate to have an informal international observer at the AVT South India Rally earlier this year. Based on this, the Head of our Rallying Commission Ashwin Pandit, at the Rallycom meeting in Johor Bahru, discussed the possibility of having an official observer for one of our rallies this year. I am glad to say that due to the efforts of the Rallycom, the Chikmagalur Rally will be officially observed so that our Indian events will now have the opportunity to be part of the FIA Asia Cup next year.
The Technical commission led by K Krishnamurthy and Kamlesh Patel has been exceedingly busy in drafting and monitoring the technical regulations. Your FMSCI has now invested over Rs. 15 lakhs on the import and local purchase of equipment that will aid the technical delegates and scrutineers.
It is with great pleasure that I announce 17 year old Akhil Rabindra as the Indian driver being chosen as the candidate for the FIA Institute Academy. Drivers from 11 countries across the Asia-Pacific region are set to take part in their regional selection event for the 2013/14 Young Driver Excellence Academy. Each FIA National Sporting Authority (ASN) in the region was asked to put forward their nomination, which was then assessed by the FIA Institute. To qualify, drivers had to meet a set of minimum criteria, as well as having demonstrated strong performance in competition so far. On the final shortlist are some of the top young drivers in motor racing and rallying across the Asia-Pacific region, including competitors from Australian Formula Ford, the Sri Lankan Supercross Championship, JK Tyre Racing Championship and the V8 Challenge Cup Championship.
The K-1000 rally had to be postponed due to operational reasons but am glad to see everything is shaping up well for one of India’s oldest rallies. At the Rallycom meeting earlier this month we announced changes to the 2014 championship. There will be only 3 categories next year and most importantly we encourage the participation of foreign entrants. We hope to expand the grid and manufacturer list in the upcoming years. The 15th Raid de Himalaya was a success yet again and congratulations to Suresh Rana for emerging victorious for a record 9th time along with his co-driver Ashwin Naik. It is one of the most popular rallies in India and people have nothing but great things to say about the unique event. We were glad to finally kick off the 2013 Indian National TSD Rally Championship with the first round being held in Nashik. TSD rallying is picking up and next year looks good for the championship with ten rounds already being confirmed.
The BIC has been bustling with activity over the last month as the Indian GP approaches. The turnout for the 17th MMSC-FMSCI National Racing Championship & JK Tyre Racing Championship I must admit surprised me and is a clear sign that Indian motorsport is doing just fine. Both championships witnessed record numbers with over 20000 fans, which featured the top talent from the country.
This year there will only be one support race for the Indian GP with the MRF Formula 2000 kicking off its championship at the BIC. All these cars have been made in India by an Indian team and is probably one of the fastest in the region. The grid will include top drivers from all across the globe.
This weekend will also witness the final round of the JK Tyre-FMSCI National Karting Championship in New Delhi with titles on the line in the Micro Max, Junior Max and Senior Max categories. This year we have had more than 10 young drivers moving up from Karting to Single-Seaters action and more importantly they have all made the transition with ease. This definitely means that our karting program is on the right track.
Round 3 of the FMSCI-MMSC took place at the BIC and created history of sorts as it was the first time that motorcycles had raced around the grand prix circuit. It was good to see full manufacturer support in the form of TVS, Honda and Yamaha blasting around the BIC.
FMSCI team India rider K.Jagan was invited to particpate in the Asia Cup and did the country proud with a 3rd placed podium finish in Round 1. I am also personally thankful to Nasser at the QMMF for agreeing so spontaneously to a request to upgrade Rajni from the 600cc to a 1000cc bike at Losail for the weekend of the 5th October.
Gaurav Gill’s brilliant win in the Rally of Japan in his MRF Skoda Fabia means he is the favourite to win the APRC title with one more round to go. It was a fantastic effort in the Rally of Hokkaido by Gaurav Gill to take a comfortable win. Behind him Sanjay Takale won the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) Production Cup title.
Narain Karthikeyan continued his great form in the final round of Auto GP Championship to take his fifth win of the season. Karun Chandhok and Armaan Ebrahim did not have the best outing at the FIA GT Series with both drivers having to retire their cars. Another great achievement for Narain and Karun is that they have both been invited to represent India at the season ending Race of Champions. This is an invite only event for top drivers including Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Ogier, Sebastian Vettel, Jamie Whincup etc and it is a proud moment for Indian talent to be recognized with these great names.
Aditya Patel had yet another top ten finish in the Audi R8 in the ADAC GT Masters. Young Indian racer Parth Ghorpade continues to be a top 10 finisher in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps championship with a 6th place finish in Imola. Lastly and quite importantly a big congratulations to Jehan Daruvala as he became the first ever Indian to win the British Karting Championship albeit on a MSA licence. The young Indian driver, backed by Sahara Force India, had two podium finishes in the final round to seal the title.
Motorsport has always been an unforgiving sport and I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest sympathies to the families of Maria De Villota and Sean Edwards, who both passed away over the last week. Maria was doing a lot of work for women in motorsport with the FIA and will be sorely missed. Sean was close to wrapping up the Porsche Supercup Championship and is a great loss to the motorsport world.
All members of the FMSCI have been working on overtime in order to try to better the sport in India and I would like to thank them all for making my task easier. Hope everyone has a great time at the Indian GP!