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48 entries for INRC Coffee Day India Rally 2018 at Chikmagalur

Shahid Salman
27 Nov 2018, 17:45 IST

Gaurav Gill in action - Coffee Day Rally
Gaurav Gill in action - Coffee Day Rally

The MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship convoy rolls into the coffee town this weekend for the Coffee Day Rally which has attracted 48 entries. The action-packed event, sponsored by Coffee Day Group and organised by the Chikmagalur Motor Sports Club, will be held from November 30 to December 2. The thrill and excitement that motorsports garners in India especially amongst the youth fits well with Coffee Day considering the strong youth connect that the brand holds.

The Coffee Day India Rally, which is also the fourth round of the National Championship, will witness some of the best names in Indian motorsport battle it out for top honours. Over the past couple of decades, the three-day event, has grown in stature and popularity among both participants and spectators, thanks to Coffee Day Group’s significant support and constant involvement.

The Championship, promoted by the Ramakrishna Race Performance Management (RRPM), kicked off earlier this year in Chennai before moving on to Coimbatore and Arunachal Pradesh. After three rounds, Mahindra Adventure team’s Amittrajit Ghosh and co-driver Ashwin Naik head the leaderboard with 61 points, followed by team-mates Gaurav Gill and Musa Sherif (50).

The duo, driving the Mahindra XUV 500, will headline the three-day event which commences on Friday with the popular Super Special Stage (2.2 Kms) at the Amber Valley school grounds. The competitors will then head to the twisty Special Stages located in the nearby Coffee Day Group’s estates on Saturday and Sunday.

The other big team, apart from Mahindra Adventure, is the Arka Motorsports that boasts of seasoned Rahul Kanthraj (co-driver Vivek Bhatt) and talented Karna Kadur (Nikhil Pai) as the standard-bearers. Kadur and Kanthraj are placed third and fourth in the Overall classification behind Ghosh and Gill after three rounds and also head the INRC-2 category, while two young guns from Mangaluru, Aroor Vikram Rao (Falkon Motorsports, 68 points) and Dean Mascarenhas (Team Champions, 53) are in the lead in INRC-3.

This season’s INRC has seen the entry of a new outfit, Team Champions that was born out of a desire to support talented drivers in need of financial assistance. Team Champions will have a seven-car line-up besides eight more crews ( total of 15 crews backed by the Champions group) that they will be supporting as a part of their driver talent hunt for INRC. The team has provided an opportunity for talented drivers from across India which includes Samrat Yadav (New Delhi), Aditya Thakur(Solan), Lanu Sanen( Arunachal Pradesh), Fabid Ahmer (Kerala), Vikram Gowda (Bangalore) and Jenu Johnson(Mysore) “It is our aim to facilitate the participation of deserving drivers and hopefully, unearth fresh talent. 2018 is our debut year in INRC and next season, we might be entering more cars,” said Vamcy Merla, the owner of Team Champions who himself will be driving a Honda CRV for the very first in Indian Rallying.

 Team Champions (Photo Credits: Machu Machaiah Max)
Team Champions (Photo Credits: Machu Machaiah Max)

Mr. Venkatesh M, Director, Coffee Day Hotels and Resorts said: “Coffee Day is amongst the first few corporates to cultivate the concept of racing in India with Coffee Day India Rally in 2002. This is our 16th edition and we’re proud to see the love for motorsport grow in our country. Coffee Day India Rally is truly unique given its uncanny combination of a rugged terrain with scenic beauty. It is one of the most challenging races in the calendar, filled with twisty and narrow tracks amidst the coffee plantations. The challenging rally will witness some of the best rally drivers tackle tough terrains, set for a thrilling performance in Chikmagaluru. Our team at Coffee Day Group and Motor Sports Club of Chikmagalur have relentlessly worked to make the rally one of the most awaited motorsports event in the country. We at Coffee Day are pleased to work towards the continued endeavour and success of the rally.”     

The Coffee Day Rally adorns the INRC scene as the most popular event attracting knowledgeable spectators, from near and far, in their thousands, and who inspire the competitors to raise their game by several notches. It is hardly a surprise then that this year’s Coffee Day Rally has attracted 48 entries across various categories – the IRC, IRC-2, IRC-3 and FMSCI 2W Drive Cup.


Additionally, the organisers have included a separate category for the Maruti Gypsy vehicles while Volkaswagen have provided two VW Polos in Rally trim as the two forward cars – “Zero” and “Double Zero”.

The Special Stages are located, as before, in Chettanahalli, Chandrapura and Kumaragode estates. Each of the three Stages will be run twice on Saturday and once in the reverse direction on Sunday. The total competitive section is 122.77 Kms and 229 Kms of liaison for a total distance of 351.77 Kms.

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