The three-day event has attracted 48 competitors led by newly crowned 2021 National Overall Champion Aditya Thakur (Co-driver Virender Singh) of Himachal, who also led the INRC-3 category. For the 2022 season, Thakur has been promoted to the INRC-2 category.
The highly competitive field also includes a number of other top-flight contenders such as seven-time National Champion Gaurav Gill (Musa Sherif, Kasargod) from Delhi and Karna Kadur (Nikhil Pai) from Bengaluru, winner of the Asian Cup round of the FIA Asia -Pacific Rally Championship on same venue last month and defending INRC-2 Champion Fabid Ahmer (Sanath G) from Kerala.
The MMRT circuit at Sriperumbudur, some 35km from Chennai, will be the heart of the action, hosting the Super Special Stage and one of the two Special Stages alongside the Rally HQ and Service Park.
The total distance of the rally is about 300 km, including about 123 km of competition. Competitors will conduct a reconnaissance course on Friday (April 22) while the stages are ridden over the next two days.
The 2021 season, postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, concluded last month. It meant a very short turnaround time of around three weeks before the start of the 2022 season, but nonetheless the MRF 45th South India Rally has attracted a significant number of entries.
The notable absentees are England-based Amittrajit Ghosh and his co-driver Ashwin Naik from Mangaluru in the leading INRC overall category, who were among the top title contenders but opted to skip this weekend’s rally.
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