Keen battle likely in Kolkata Rally

Thursday, September 17, 2009

DURGAPUR - Heavy rains in the region notwithstanding, the Rally de Kolkata, the third round of the Speed-Indian National Rally Championship, is all set to commence here Friday with 37 competitors in the fray.

Compared to the previous two rounds at Coimbatore and Bangalore that attracted over 60 entries, the Kolkata Rally has suffered in view of the logistics and also considering that a majority of the rallyists hail from southern India.

Nevertheless, the competition is bound to be as razor-sharp as in the earlier outings with Red Rooster Racing and Team MRF in yet another head-to-head confrontation at the top of the grid in their modified Mitsubishi Cedia Lancer cars.

The two teams shared honours in the championship with Red Rooster’s Amittrajit Ghosh winning in Coimbatore and Arjun Balu of MRF taking the title in Bangalore.

Both rounds, however, were marred by protests and appeals. In Coimbatore, it was MRF who unsuccessfully protested the grant of “benefit of time” of 30 seconds to Ghosh that helped him past Arjun Rao Aroor of MRF. In turn, Red Rooster’s protest over the air vents in MRF car bonnets was thrown out, but they appealed. MRF have been given time until end November to explain.

As for the Rally de Kolkata, the two teams have put behind themselves the incidents and are keen to establish their supremacy with National champion Vikram Mathias along with Ghosh facing up to the four-car MRF squad.

Down the grid, the attention will be on Keralas Joseph Jos of DDL Sports who came up with a fine drive to win the K-1000 title in the 1600cc class field that included the experienced duo of Girijashankar Joshy and Rahul Kanthraj.

In the 1400cc category, K-1000 winner Vikram Devadasen and Shailender Hegde will yet again be the top contenders along with the talented youngster from Bangalore, Deepak Paul Chinappa.

Likewise, Mysores Phalguna Urs needs to be watched in the Rally Star Cup following his fine win in K-1000 while it should be a straight fight between Khushwant Randhawa and Anil Wadia of Team Thunderbolt.

The Rally de Kolkata covers a total distance of 560.2 Kms of which 110 Kms comprise the Special Stages. The event will conclude in Kolkata on Sunday after the Spectator Special Stage of 1.8 Kms.

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