Itanagar, Dec 15 (IANS) A record 43 cars will line up to take part in the Rally of Arunachal, the first round of the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC), which gets underway from Wednesday in Itanagar.
While the tarmac surface on which the entire rally would run will make it a level playing field for all the drivers, the cynosure of all eyes will be the battle between defending champion Chetan Shivram and Gaurav Gill.
Shivam was the one who ended multiple-time champion Gill’s streak last year and will be eager to kick-off his title defence on a high note. The Kerala driver who has been snapped up by Yokohama for this year will be driving with a new co-driver Rupesh Kholay.
India’s only Arjuna awardee in motorsports Gill and his co-driver Musa Sherif had an uneventful last season and will look to begin the year with a bang. He would be aiming to conquer new frontiers and even though he had a below par 2019, he signed off with a win in the ultimate round and shall aim to begin from where he left.
Privateer Karna Kadur (Nikhil V Pai) will be another driver to watch for and he too will have his sights set on the top podium especially after a poor run of form in the last season.
The Rally of Arunachal will see the teams fight it out over a total distance of 178.32 kms, with as many as 108 kms earmarked for four special stages over two days including two night stages which will provide the drivers as well as the spectators’ ample opportunity for fun.
While the battle between Chetan and Gaurav is expected to be the main attraction, the likes of Dean Mascarenhas (Shruptha Padivel), Dr Bikku Babu (Bonnie Thomas) of Team Nutulapaty, Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik) amongst others will also fancy their chances. There will also be several women drivers on the grid including the Team Vasundhara duo of Bani Yadav (Shubhkiran Pal Kaur Brar) & Pragathi Gowda (Deeksha Balakrishna).