Stan Rayan

Making the Indian championship an open affair will raise the quality

He revealed that he has a major sponsor who wants him to drive in India

KOCHI: A decade after scorching the track on the Indian rally circuit, former World Rally champion Karamjit Singh of Malaysia could be driving in the country again this year.

Discussions are on at the FMSCI, motor sport’s national body, to allow foreign drivers to compete in the Indian National Rally Championship this season and Karamjit, who is in Kochi for a commercial shoot for Volkswagen, revealed that he has a major Malaysian sponsor who wants him to drive in India.

“It’s good that India is planning to open its National championship to foreigners,” Karamjit, Asia’s first Production Cars World champion in 2002, told The Hindu at the Gokulam Park here on Wednesday evening.

“The Malaysian Championship has been an open event for decades now and making the Indian championship an open affair will raise the quality of your drivers in a big way. In Malaysia, we call the winners of closed rallies village champions.” Karamjit, also a multiple winner of the Asia Pacific Championship and an 11-time Malaysian champion, including last year’s edition, now wants India to have bigger and more powerful cars, including four-wheel drive cars, on its National circuit. “That will make the transition from the national circuit to the international stage faster and smoother.”

The Malaysian, whose grandparents hail from Amritsar, could be spending more and more time in India.

“JK Tyre is planning to open a rally school in Coimbatore soon and they have asked me to train rally drivers there along with Hari Singh (former Asia Zone and Indian champion) and Akbar Ebrahim (former racing star). I will be training the national drivers there,” he said.

Our rally drivers have a lot to look forward to this year.

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