Bangalore, 20 Nov 2015: The cloudy horizon sent in chills amongst the rally enthusiasts and the prospects of a thrilling K-1000 are dull what with the new tarmac surface proving the dampner, not just the rains. The Horizon 41st K-1000 was flagged off here on Friday, on a sombre note, and for many a veteran, the K-1000 without the late Bharat Raj was a painful excercise.
The Rally is the third round of the 2015 FMSCI Indian Rally Championship was flagged off by Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi at a city hotel on Rajkumar road.
The Rally is being conducted by the Karnataka Motor Sports Club is sponsored by Fairfield Marriott Hotel, Vijaychandra Motors and Turlube lubricants.
The Rally will be dedicated to KMSC’s late Chairman and former FMSCI President R Bharath Raj, who passed away on August 15.
Moving away from tradition, the K-1000, this time, will be a tarmac rally. With wet weather prevailing, it should add a touch of drama though the rally is not on dirt. The recce was held in the morning and the drivers are not very happy with the Special Stages which are being run in a private lay-out near the Big Banyan tree off the Mysore Road.
All top rally drivers in the country have confirmed participation for the event that will run from November 20-22. A total of 37 entries have been received. They will compete in the IRC, IRC 2000cc, IRC 1600cc and FMSCI 1600cc Cup categories.
Mysore’s speedster Lohitt V Urs with co-driver Srikanth Gowda of Bangalore are the ones to watch out for. The duo will be on a Mitsubishi Evo VIII all-wheel drive. Lohitt is leading the championship with a total of 59 points while Mahindra Adventure driver from Kolkata Amittrajit Ghosh with newly-maried Mangalore’s Ashwin Naik as co-driver is on 47 and will be driving a Mahindra XUV500.
Reigning National champion in the IRC class, Mahindra Adventure’s Delhi driver Gaurav Gill and Musa Sherif, also from Mangalore are the top pair in the country and former APRC champion is on 45 and so is his teammate from Chandigarh Sunny Sidhu (PVS Murthy, Bangalore).
The other notable entries are AR Racing’s Arjun Rao Aroor (Mangalore)-Satish Rajagopal (Bangalore) in a Volkswagen Polo R2, JCT Rallying’s Samir Thapar (New Delhi)-Gurinder Mann (Chandigarh) in a Mitsubishi Evo X and Abhilash PG (Cochin)-Anoop Kumar (Bangalore) in a Mitsubishi Evo VIII. This is the premier class in the IRC and the top drivers will be fighting it out for the Overall National title.
In the 2000cc class, Bangalore’s Rahul Kanthraj (Vivek Bhatt, Bangalore), from Team Yokohama, is the leader with 78 points, while Mumbai’s Chettinad Sporting entrant Hrishikesh Thackersey (Ninad Mirajgaonkar, Mumbai) is on 59. Kanthraj and Bhatt are the defending champions.
In the 1600cc class, Kerala’s Chettinad Sporting driver Bikku Babu (Bonnie Thomas, Kerala) leads the classification with 60 points, while Bangalore’s Team Yokohama driver Karna Kadur (Vivek Ponnusamy, Melbourne) is within striking distance and on 58.
In the 1600cc Cup class, Palakkad’s Adith KC (Harish KN, Bangalore) leads the table with 64 points. They are the defending champions. Second is Bangalore’s Ashwin Reddy (Suraj Shetti, Bangalore) on 58 points.
There will be three physical stages of 14, 8, 5.5 km. Each stage will be run thrice on day one (Saturday) and once in reverse direction on the second day (Sunday). The gravel Super Special Stage will be held at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre on Tumkur Road on Sunday. The Special Stage distance is 112.08Km, Super Special Stage distance is three Km and total rally distance is 291.55Km.
KMSC President Shivu Shivappa said: “With support from our rally fraternity, we have been able to put together this event. Our sponsors have been generous and without them, this rally would not have been possible.”
Clerk of the Course Praneeth Perumal said: “We are having a tarmac rally after more than a decade and it should be entertaining. There will be a mix of terrain and though the average speeds may not be very high, the stages are going to be technical and highly competitive.”