Nearly 50 vehicles are in the fray, 30 of them confirming for all the six rounds of the series, the first of its kind in the country.
At a media conference here Tuesday, Berunda CEO K. Prasad, a three-time winner of the Raid de Himalaya and a former two-wheeler rally champion, reiterated that the championship was more about navigational skills than speed and participation did not require any modification or alterations to the vehicles.
“As big rallying enthusiasts, we are thrilled to bring you this exciting new championship that will put to test the navigational skills of the participants rather than just driving as the average speeds will be in the region of 45 kmph,” said Prasad.
In a big boost to the championship, two leading car manufacturers, Tata Motors (six vehicles) and Volkswagen India (four) will be fielding teams that the promoters hoped would attract other constructors like Ford, Hyundai, Mahindra and Maruti, who will have their presence through private entries.
The promoters have introduced a championship for vehicle manufacturers based on cumulative points accrued by their teams across all six rounds.
The first round of the championship, after a ceremonial start Saturday at the Golden Gate Properties, will commence the following day at 7 a.m. and the vehicles will cover a distance of 265 km through Magadi, Ramanagar, Bidadi, Kanakapura and Sarjapur before finishing at Love Shack, Inner Ring Road, Indiranagar in Bangalore at about 5 p.m.
The championship, also supported by Golden Gate Properties, Reckitt Benckiser and Woodland Shoes, will be conducted under the aegis of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India and offers a prize-money of nearly Rs.7.5 lakh per round.
Prasad said the participants who will vie for the championship have been divided into two classes, Pro-Expert and Pro-Stock class while each round will have a separate category for Corporate teams and first-timers.
“This will give any rallying fan the opportunity to participate and enjoy the thrill of motorsport in their respective cities. They can bring in their own cars and participate in a special leg of the rally,” said Prasad.
Of equal significance is the return of JK Tyre to rallying after a long break, though only as title sponsors. “As you all may be aware, JK Tyre have a strong motorsport pedigree and their participation in our championship is a huge boost for the sport in India,” Prasad pointed out.
Speaking on the occasion, Sanjay Sharma, Head-Motorsport, JK Tyre and Industries Ltd, said: “It has always been our endeavour at JK Tyre to promote motorsport at grass-root level and the TSD championship, I am sure, will attract more participants and also spread awareness.”
Sanjay Raj, CEO, Golden Gate Properties, said: “We are happy to be associated with such a venture as the TSD championship and we hope to continue to support this event in the coming years.”
Harkirat Singh, managing director, Woodland Shoes, said: “Motorsport is an emerging activity in the country, especially among a section of the society that loves adventure. Being the country’s face for adventure, Woodland Shoes is proud to partner with a national level championship like JK Tyre-FMSCI Indian National TSD Rally Championship.”