It is going to be red hot when rally superstars Team MRF and Red Rooster Racing come in direct clash for the second time this season in the Speed-Rally of Coimbatore, the National championship round for four-wheelers, at the dusty and winding Kethanur windmill farms, near here, on Saturday. “The challenge is going to be much the same as in Nashik (season's opening round). We hope to repeat the performance here,” said Team MRF's strong man Gaurav Gill, who worked magic for his team in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship in Australia last week.
“APRC or WPRC it does not matter. I am just going to go out there and do my job,” said Gill, the defending champion.
He said the stages are very rough. “It's going to get worse and the car is certainly going to take a beating. A bit of strategy might help.”
With a gutsy Gill in its line-up, MRF is the team that is hot right now. But Red Rooster is geared up for the challenge as well. “We are all ready for Coimbatore. We want to hit back and try to win this round,” said the team's lead driver Vikram Mathias. “The stages are good, but a little wider than last year. It is bound to get rough as the rally wears on,” he added.
Six-time National champion and local hero V.R. Naren Kumar (co-driver Ram Kumar) is back from a four-year break and will kick-start his campaign for Red Rooster Racing.
“It's going to be really exciting. I love the stages here. It is really fast but the field is pretty unchanged since I last drove here. But to be frank I have not driven these cars before,” said Naren, the former WPRC driver who did not enjoy a great start to the season.
How about the home crowd pressure? “It is always good to have a bit of pressure. And, fortunately for us it has always worked well,” he added.
Mathias agreed that Naren's entry will do a world of good for the team. “I am glad that Naren is in the team. The pressure is off my shoulders. Now my mind will be free to attack.”
Gill welcomed the competition. “Naren is a great driver with an impressive record. The competition is only going to help us improve our performance.”
The high-octane championship, which got off to an impressive ‘ceremonial' start at the VOC Park grounds on Friday, has attracted more than 50 entries. The seven of the special stages will be run on Saturday at Kethanur. The last two stages will be held the next day followed by the spectator-friendly Super Special Stage at the Ganga Naidu Charities Trust grounds on Ganga Naidu Salai, behind Jenney Club, on Sunday afternoon.