With the current season heading for a six-round championship, after a series low-round championships, the promoters Blueband Sports have also brought in such forgotten venues back into the main frame. Kodavas are one of the most sports-loving people in India. The rally is being run within the Tata Coffee Plantations at different locations in South Coorg and is organised by Robusta Adventure and Sports Academy. The last rally, Rally de Coorg, was held in 2008.
“We are thrilled to rejuvenate the Rally scene in Coorg by bringing it back after a 15-year hiatus,” said Premnath K, the Promoter.
Championship leader Aroor Arjun Rao and co-driver Satish Rajagopal of Mandovi Racing are confident going into the penultimate round, the Robusta Rally of Kodagu, the fifth round of the Blueband Sports fmsci Indian National Rally Championship which begins at the Tata coffee plantatioins, near Amaathi.
Driving a Maruti Suzuki Baleno the Mangalore-Bengaluru pair, did a splendid job this season winning all the first three rallies before the tough terrain of Hyderabad took its toll in the fourth round. However, the experienced duo kept their 60-point lead despite a DNF and just need another 20 points to seal the championship. “We are confident and eager to take on the terrain. We just need 20 points, so our goal is to finish the rally and earn maximum points,” said Arjun Rao.
Another experienced driver Karna Kadur will be back with his regular navigator Nikhil Pai, and will be raring to go in the coffee stages along with Arka Motorsports teammates Amittrajit Ghosh and co-driver Ashwin Naik. Arjuna Awardee Gaurav Gill, who is leading the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) ahead of the Indonesia round next Sunday, will be missing this INRC round.
Former champion Chetan Shivram and co-driver E Shivaprakash are leading the INRC2 table but Philippos Matthai and co-driver PVS Murthy, who had a forgettable round in Hyderabad, will be looking to bounce back as they trail by just four points. In INRC3, Jahaan Singh Gill (Suraj K Prasad) is leading by just a point and Vishakh Balachandran (Anil Abbas) need to put all their energies together to stop the marauding Junior championship leader Gill.
In INRC4, the competition is tough with Abhin Rai (Arvind Dheerendra) and Vivek Ruthuparna (Athreya Kousgi) on equal 116 points. Nikeetaa Takkale is leading the ladies class while Jahaan Singh Gill tops Junior INRC table after Round 4. Dr Akarsh Sundar (Ravikumar) are heading the Gypsy table.
There competitive sections will be run at the Tata Coffee Limited plantations. There will be two physical stages, Anandapura (12.75km) and Pollibetta (8km), run thrice in the forward direction on Saturday. On Sunday, 8.5km Woshully and 8-km Margolly, near Ammathi will be run in the forward direction thrice for a total competitive distance of 111.75km. Along with another 152km transport distance, the total rally distance would be 263.7km. The rally has attracted 61 entries and the ceremonial flag was held at the Ammathi High School . The final rally, the popular K1000 will be near Tumkur from Dec 21 to 23.