KOCHI: After protests from national champion Gaurav Gill, motor sport's national body FMSCI has postponed the Indian National Rally Championship's season-opener in Nasik, from May 21 to June 25.

And, with it, it has set the stage for a strong rivalry, one that promises to revive the sport in a big way. There will now be a thrilling fight between two stars who have driven in the Production Cars World Rally Championship.

When the Indian rally calendar came in a few weeks ago, there was disappointment all around. For the opening round clashed with the Asia Pacific Championship's second leg in Japan. That meant that Gaurav Gill, who also competes in the Asia Pacific event, would have to suffer a big disadvantage in the national championship by skipping the season-opener in Nashik.

The FMSCI came up with the new dates a couple of days ago.

After the season opener in Nashik (June 25-27), the national rally championship travels through Coimbatore (August 6-8), Jodhpur (Sept. 17-19), Delhi (Oct. 22-24), Hyderabad (Nov. 12-14), Bangalore (Dec. 3-5) before winding up at Kottayam (Dec. 17-19).

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