National rally to be flagged off today

MUMBAI, JULY 6. The third round of Motor sports Association of India's National Rally Championship will be flagged off from Hotel Regent, Mumbai, on Saturday.

Named the Orange Monsoon Rally, the event will bring together the best rallyists on the national circuit, spread over two legs comprising six tarmac stages from Mumbai to Nashik and back.

Team MRF's Naren Kumar and N.Leelakrishnan in the 1401-1600 cc (both driving Honda City Vtec's), teammates Vikram Mathais and Jagat Nanjappa in the 801-1400 cc (Maruti Esteems) are a few of the key participants.

The event is organised by the Indian Automotive Racing Club (IARC) in association with the Western India Automotive Association (WIAA) and sponsored by Orange and Hotel Regent, Bandra. Newcomers Maruti Baleno and Honda City Vtec are in contention for top honours.

Favourite Maruti Esteem is in the reckoning for the overall honours as well as class victories in the 801-1400 cc. The newest category this year is the Rally Star Cup, a brainchild of IARC wherein all major car components will be sponsored by various manufacturers.

The titles at stake include the MAI Indian National Rally championship for drivers/co-drivers, 801-1400cc MAI INR Championship, upto 800cc MAI INR Championship, MAI Rally Star Cup and MAI INR team championship.

Vikram Mathais/Sujith Kumar head the INR Championships standings after two legs with 22 points and also in the 801-1400 cc class (26 points), Jiby Maliakkal/Rohan Rego, driving a Maruti Esteem, lead in the Rally Star Cup stakes at this stage (14 points). The husband-wife pair of Jagat and Anita Nanjappa are placed second in the 801-1400 cc event.

- Our Special Correspondent