Motorsport's Flying Sikh, Malaysian Karamjit Singh is likely to drive in the Indian rally circuit this season, after the National body, FMSCI announced some exciting changes to its circuit on Wednesday.
The Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India has decided to introduce a new Indian Rally Championship this season, with homologated FIA Group N and N4 cars, which is open to international drivers in the Asia zone, apart from Indian stars.
“I'm trying to get a drive in India. This is a new development, I'll have to speak with JK Tyres,” said Karamjit, the former Production Cars World champion and three-time APRC champion, from Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
The seasoned Karamjit is a busy man on the international circuit. He took the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship's two-wheel class drivers' title, after winning all the five rounds he entered in last season, in a 1600cc Proton Satria.
India's Vivek Ponnusamy was his co-driver in many of the rounds. Karamjit also walked away with the Malaysian championship's drivers' title for the 12th time.
“I will be defending both my APRC 2WD and Malaysian titles this season,” said the 48-year-old. So, will not the Indian championship add to his burden? “In mid-2005, I used to do 20 events. I would love to do more,” he said.
So, will the changes bring back JK Tyre to the circuit to challenge Team MRF as they did years ago, setting the rally roads on fire with their intense rivalry.
There were days when top stars like N. Leekakrishnan, Hari Singh and Naren Kumar ruled the stages.
Even Karamjit, who has his roots in Amritsar, drove for JK Tyre in a few rallies a little more than a decade ago, before protests from other teams kept him out.
“A lot of things need to change in the way our sport is run. The sport has not changed much from what it was more than ten years ago,” said Sanjay Sharma, JK Tyre's Motorsport Head, from Delhi.
“But let's see, let's wait and see,” he said, raising hope.
Open to international drivers
Meanwhile Rajan Syal, the FMSCI Chief Executive, said the Indian Rally Championship which is open to Indians and drivers in the Asian Zone for the first time this year, is likely to be open to all international drivers from next year.
“We expect at least five foreign drivers this year,” said Syal. “And we are waiting for JK Tyre to come.”
Apart from the regular event, the Indian National Rally Championship (Group N 1601-2000cc, two-wheel drive class), the FMSCI has also introduced a new event for juniors this year.
The Junior Indian National Rally Championship for drivers below 27 years (as on June 1 this year) will make its debut this season and they will compete in Group N upto 1600cc (2WD homologated cars).
The National championship is likely to be run over six rounds and the dates will be announced shortly. “We are trying to get seven,” said Syal.