2013 Chikmagalur Rally Preview
We know what you're thinking. With Amittrajit Ghosh and Ashwin Naik already having clinched the 2013 Indian National Rally Championship title, can the final round of the championship be exciting? Well, we'll have you know that it can indeed be quite a thriller. Here's why:
Arjun Rao Aroor and Vikram Devadasan will go head to head for runners up spot in the INRC at Chikmagalur
The 2013 Indian National Rally Championship might have already been decided. But there are more championship battles waiting to play out. To begin with, Arjun Rao Aroor and Vikram Devadasan are currently second and third in the championship. With 66 points, Aroor is a mere four points ahead of Devadasan, and the battle for the runner-up crown will go down to the wire at Chikmagalur. But Aroor's battles extend to other categories of the championship too. The 1600cc class that he's competing in also sees stiff competition. While Aroor leads with a 105 points, Sirish Chandran is second with 90 points. Chikmagalur could well see the championship slip from one Volkswagen Polo driver to the other. Over in the Junior INRC, a mere five points separate Asad Khan from Suhem MK and a bad result for one could tip the championship in the other's favour. We wouldn't miss it for the world!
Point of contention
Another reason to sit up and take notice is because the beautiful stages of Chikmagalur are all set to be a contender for the 2014 Asia Cup. If things go well, and the APRC observer deputed to cover the event is sufficiently impressed, 2014 will see the Chikmagalur Rally, which will run as a part of the Indian Rally Championship, also feature on the calendar of the Asia Cup. This means foreign drivers and foreign cars will make their way to the coffee plantations elevating a national event to an international event. And if all goes smoothly, Chikmagalur could well feature on the 2015 Asia Pacific Rally Championship calendar as well. What's not to like about that?
Hold the sugar, bring on the gravel
How do you like your coffee? Cream and sugar? That's boring. We take ours with plenty of gravel, if you please! That's right, the Coffee Day Rally 2013 is the only gravel rally on the 2013 INRC calendar. The stages for the 2013 edition of the rally are all new. The Chetnahalli stage is 15km long and features flat terrain that makes it the quickest stage in the rally. SS3, which is the Kumragode stage, is 10km long. This stage is narrow and tight, making for an interesting challenge. And the altitude of the stage varies between 3,300 to 3,700 feet. SS4, is the Chandrapura Stage, which is 13.5km long. The stage is narrow and tight in parts, but has a 2km flatout section towards the finish.
Third in the 1600 class at the K1000. Now Dean Mascrenhas will be hoping to go one better
And here's a driver you must watch out for. At all of 20 years of age, Dean Mascrenhas is the youngest driver in the 2013 Indian National Rally Championship. Given that he's from a family that took rallying pretty seriously Dean's progression into the sport was but natural. As he tells us, his father told him he simply had to compete in a rally the day he turned 18, and so he did, impressing on his debut that too. Dean's since then gone on to win his class in the K1000 on more than one occasion, also claiming a class win at the Odisha Rally in 2011. Has his 2013 season gone according to plan though? Well, not quite. Two DNFs - Chennai and Nashik - haven't helped the championship cause, while he ended up sitting out the Coimbatore round of the championship. But the K1000 saw the young driver score his first podium of the 2013 season in a Volkswagen Polo. Chikmagalur will then be where Dean will hope to make his mark. All he needs to help him along the way is an experienced navigator, perhaps.
We certainly wouldn't miss the Coffee Day Rally for anything. See you at the stages between the 19th and 21st of December!
Starts Rs 6.17 Lakhs
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