Team MRF to skip Mysore car Rally

June 12th, 2008 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Mysore, June 12 (IANS) The 2008 Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) season could not have had a more inauspicious start with heavyweights Team MRF pulling out of Round One of the Sidvin MAI Rally Mysore leg this weekend. The organisers, Prosports, are still reeling under the pullout as MRF have even threatened to boycott the INRC season, citing various issues, chiefly electronic timing. However, those in the business believe there is more to it than meets the eye.

The Clerk-of-the-Course (CoC) for the Mysore Rally, Shivu Shivappa, expressed helplessness at MRF’s pullout, but chose to look at the brighter side saying the event had received over 40 entries, a record of sorts.

It was thought that MRF would enter at least four cars for the three-day event beginning here Friday. But in view of the longstanding differences between MRF and the Motorsports Association of India (MAI), their non-participation was not a huge surprise.

The irony is that MRF’s decision coincides with the possible involvement of Sidvin CoreTech, a Bangalore-based software company, as the title sponsors of the INRC series this year. With funds made available, the INRC is expected to be a better-dressed event than in the past.

To this end, a specialist television crew from New Zealand, led by Brian Young, who holds the rights for the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, has arrived here to shoot the Rally of Mysore.

Under the circumstances, MRF’s pullout has been sour grapes as their decision has robbed the event of several top drivers while reducing the showcase class, Group N+, to a three-car competition.

“We had put in extra effort and funds to prepare a route and terrain that would facilitate the fast and powerful N+ cars. Hence, we are even more disappointed that the MRF team will not be participating,” said Prosports chief B.S. Sujith Kumar, a former rally participant.

Incidentally, Sidvin also sponsor V.R. Naren Kumar who is participating in the World Rally Championship (production class).

Of some consolation for the organisers and the locals is the participation of Lohit Urs who has taken the bold step of entering as a privateer although he is very much part of Team MRF, in the N+ class, driving a Maruti Baleno.

Cars in the N+ class are allowed wholesale modifications with respect to engine, suspension and tyres. These vehicles are also fitted with the Limited Slip Differential (LSD) that control the wheelspin, making them faster through the corners.

The powerful engines also put out 150-plus BHP. However, the huge costs in purchasing and preparing these cars put them beyond the scope of privateers.

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