K-1000, a jinxed RallyBy IANS
Thursday, December 2, 2010
BANGALORE - The Karnataka-1000 Rally, a part of the Speed-Indian National Rally Championship, continues to be jinxed. The latest edition starting here Friday and being run as a contender event for the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, has again thrown up organisational shortcomings that has led to considerable misgivings among the participants.
The talk in the Rally circles here with less than 24 hours for the start of the event was not so much whether Gaurav Gill of Team MRF would be able to catch up with championship leader VR Naren Kumar (Team Red Rooster Racing), but as to whether one of the four Special Stages should be run at all.
Following Wednesdays reconnaissance run, a written plea, signed by almost all participants, was submitted to the organisers seeking cancellation of the contentious Clay Special Stage of 24.35 km that was described as fit only for two-wheelers and not cars.
In fact, Team MRFs Lohitt Urs submitted yet another letter on behalf of his team Thursday expressing concern over the safety of the Clay SS.
To top it, Thursdays official shakedown session was disallowed by APRC observer Murray Brown due to the absence of an ambulance and a fire extinguisher. By then, a couple of Rally cars had completed the shakedown lap and the others were left fuming when Brown put a stop to the proceedings.
The incident did not reflect well on the organisers, the Karnataka Motor Sports Club, whose officials are already confronted with the tricky situation of the Clay Stage that the participants want cancelled.
Naren Kumar, the six times National champion who is returning to competitive driving after a two-year break, said: The Clay Stage is definitely not safe because of its layout that can see two cars running into each other from different directions.
Also, there were changes being done to the Stage even as we were doing the reccee Wednesday. This is totally unacceptable as our pace notes go for a six since the contours of the terrain besides the corners could change. It is better that they cancel this Stage.
Gill, who is nursing a fractured wrist and thumb following his crash in the China round of the 2010 APRC last month, expressed similar sentiments and asserted that the Clay Stage was unfit for a four-wheeler.
The Stage is far too dangerous and worse, very tight and twisty, Gill said and added in a lighter vein: Perhaps, I should bring my motocross bike!
In the past, the K-1000 Rally, traditionally held in the second week of August, had always been beset with problems and the jinx remains unbroken this year.
A harassed Bharat Raj, one of the promoters of the series, was at pains to explain the lengths to which he went to lay out a route and said that the Clay Stage would be ready for the event.