Subaru set for India debut
Bangalore: A revamped FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC), without the popular Gypsy class, will be flagged-off here Saturday in the form of Karnataka 1000 that will witness the debut of a Subaru Impreza WRX STi running in a new series to be run concurrently.
A restructured INRC, reduced to just four rounds and without a title sponsor or promoter, hopes to attract new car manufacturers while facilitating introduction of more powerful cars in the FIA-approved R4 class (Group N, up to 2500cc).
As such, the FMSCI created a new series for four-wheel drive called the Indian Rally Championship (IRC) that will be run simultaneously with the INRC (up to 2000cc and up to 1600cc) besides the Junior INRC for drivers below the age of 27 who will driving the 1400cc Maruti Esteem.
However, conspicuous by their absence will be Team MRF who pulled out of the championship following the abolition of the Group N+ class at the end of the 2011 season. Thus, the rally fans will not be seeing national champion Gaurav Gill who had raised the bar with his swashbuckling driving.
While the IRC has just one entry, Zuhin (co-driver Musa Sherif) in the Subaru, the 2000cc class has 13 entries, including hot favourite Lohitt Urs (Sujith Kumar), last year`s runner-up, while 14 cars in the fray in the 1600cc category and 12 in the junior INRC.
Undoubtedly, the Subaru of Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) specifications and of 2007 vintage, but in a red coloured livery as against the more familiar blue, will be the cynosure. The crew is serviced by Malaysia`s MRU Motorsport, who also run four cars in the APRC.
Yet, it remains to be seen whether Zuhin will be able to drive the 290-bhp car to its optimum capability in the Special Stages located on the outskirts of the city as there are not many fast and flowing sections.