Pune, May 4 (UNI) The first round of the Motorsports Association of India's national rally championship, being organised by the Western India Sports Association (WISA), will begin here from May 5 to 7.
In the competition, national champion V R Naren Kumar and his co-driver D Ram Kumar will lead JK Tyres team against resurgent and new-look MRF Tyres team, last year's champions, in the Xtra Premium Overdrive Rally of Pune.
With the battlelines already drawn, competition would be specially fierce in the 1600cc category, with JK Tyres team fielding four cars and MRF Tyres team fielding six.
Besides Naren Kumar, the other drivers competing in the rally for JK Tyres team include former national champion Vikram Mathias, Gaurav Gill and Sunny Sidhu.
For MRF Tyres, the team will be led by Arjun Balu and his co-driver Kumar Ramaswamy. Along with them will be Karandeep Singh and his co-driver Jaidas Menon, and completing the line-up will be Lohit Urs, Arjun Rao Aroor, new entrant Prithveen Rajan and Philipose Mathai, who is entering the big league this year from the 1400cc class.
According to Clerk of the Course (COC) Ashwin Pandit, while both the teams will rely on the dependable Maruti Baleno, JK Tyres team and MRF Tyres team have also entered the newly homologated Ford Fiesta.
JK Tyres team have zeroed on Naren Kumar as the driver for the new car, while MRF Tyres team have yet to name the driver for the new set of wheels.
A total of 25 entries are expected to run in this event, with ten cars in the 1600cc category, and the rest divided between the 1400cc category, the rally star cup and the Gypsy Cup.
The rally will be run on tarmac and begin with a four kiolmetre Super Special stage at the Balewadi Sports Complex on Friday followed by 12 special stages in and around Shirur, about 70 km away from the rally headquarters at Club CPR.
The rally will cover a total distance of 701.3 km in a period of three days.
Rally schedule: Friday: Super Special Stage at Balewadi Sports Complex at 1700 hrs.
Saturday: Special Stages in and around Shirur.
Sunday: Special Stages in and around Shirur.
UNI IS SSS PDS HT1107