Vicky Chandhok steps down as FMSCI chief

Chennai: After a second extended term as president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), Vicky Chandhok Monday opted to step down and not to seek re-election. The announcement came on the eve of the FMSCI’s AGM and elections scheduled here Monday.

After an earlier stint of three years at the helm of the FMSCI 2005 to 2007, Chandhok was elected to the presidency again in 2010.

In a statement, Chandhok said it was a hard and emotional decision not to stand for re-election, and that it was time for him to move on.

“This is a difficult decision for me but after being president for seven out of the last nine years, and living and breathing Indian motorsport on a daily basis, it is time to pass on the baton."

“The federation has seen many wins over the past few years, including, most notably, Formula 1 coming to India as well as the Asian Road Racing Championship for Bikes."

“The first ever FMSCI Automobile Conclave has helped us in bringing more manufacturers into our various domestic championships," said Chandhok.

“From an international perspective, India has a much larger presence in world motorsport with 14 people joining international commissions and I’m glad that I have played a part in building these international relations with the FIA, FIM and CIK." 

He, however, admitted "There is a plenty of work to be done in supporting the Jaypee Group and Formula One management, as well as the vehicle manufacturers to improve the sport in India."

During Chandhok’s tenure, there was a significant increase in the number of events run under the FMSCI banner, marked by MRF’s re-entry into track racing with their MRF 1600 and MRF Challenge series, besides the F1 India Grand Prix at the state-of-the-art Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.

While the JK Tyre National Karting Championship continues to attract and prepare young talent wishing to progress in single-seater racing, the entry of car and bike manufacturers with their one-make series provided further avenues and options for racing enthusiasts.

Conversely, the Indian National Rally Championship, the flagship of FMSCI, has been struggling despite a three-year run under new promoters, the Bangalore-based Pro-Sports Promotion with India Mines Group, who have since quit the scene, as also the two majors, MRF and JK Tyre.

In 2012, in the absence of a title sponsor or a promoter, the FMSCI took it upon itself to keep the INRC afloat, but only two rounds were conducted, but the Federation launched a National TSD Rally Championship with JK Tyre as the title sponsors.

While the INRC series is likely to get a new title sponsor next season, the TSD championship has been struggling after JK Tyre withdrew their support at the end of the 2012.

Thus, Chandhok’s two terms at the helm of FMSCI have seen some bright spots, and yet, at the grass-root level, a lot is still to be done.

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