Chennai, 14 March 2023: A promoter pushing the entries to a record number is a game-changer for India pushing motorsports metal to a new high. The Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) received a high number of entries, an all-time record for India in the APRC Asia Rally Cup 2023, thanks to the backing from India-round Promoter, Merla Vamcy, for more than half of the Indian entries in the 2nd round at the Madras International Circuit (MIC) from March 16 to 19 that runs with the fmsci Indian National Rally Championship (INRC). Of the 15 entries only Thailand is the foreign entry. Never in the history of APRC, more than 10 Indians took part in the same round.
Last year’s APRC India round winner and reigning Indian National champions Karna Kadur and co-driver Nikhil Pai will defend their title. Strong contenders, Gaurav Gill, a 3-time APRC champion, who will be with a new co-driver in experienced Aniruddha Rangnekar is also confident after testing his Subaru Impreza at the MIC today. Along with Thailand’s Toyota Rally team entered Pornsiricherd Mana and co-driver Meenil Thanyaphat, and our own Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driver Ashwin Naik), a former INRC champion and ERC-3 round winner at Greece, Nikeetaa Takkale from Pune, the niece of former APRC Production Cars champ, Sanjay Takale, will be the only lady driver along with navigator Venu Ramesh Kumar. The 15-car field also has young Indians debutants in Jahaan Singh Gill and Aeman Ahmed.
“We are delighted to see India gaining prominence on the international rallying scene, with the FIA Rally Star Asia-Pacific Final being held at the MIC, or the participation of an Indian driver in the FIA Motorsport Games. The South Indian Rally is already a success with a strong entry list and international stature. I am delighted that there is interest in the APRC FIA Asia Cup and I welcome the contribution of Merla Vamcy. I hope this is the start of a new era for the FIA APRC,” said Jerome Roussel, Category Manager, Cross-Country and Regional Rally Championship, FIA.
Vicky Chandhok, President of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship working group, said: “To encourage and boost the FIA APRC competition I was looking for a backing and immediately Merla Vamcy, past Promoter of INRC, agreed to be a contributor. Vamcy has also expressed his desire to be a Promoter of the entire APRC Championship in the future and discussions are going on with the FIA Rally Department for the Championship rights for 2024.”
Vamcy is passionate about motorsports and strongly supports Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC) and appreciates their effort. In a statement, Vamcy says, “I am absolutely thrilled to see a record number of entries in the FIA APRC segment. I am coming in as contributor to support this round and I am looking to extend my support for the Final in Indonesia.” He also supported the Indian drivers in their entry fees, specific equipments and was instrumental in MMSC doubling the prize money for Asia Cup winner.
Chandhok, the brain behind the numerous activities of MMSC and the one who brought Formula 1 to India, was totally positive with the future of the FIA APRC Asia Rally Cup and thanked Vamcy Merla, who came in as a Promoter of this India round, as a personal individual and not as any commercial entity.
Post the pandemic, there are two categories of APRC, an Asia Zone Rally Cup and a Pacific Rally Cup competition with separate winners who are crowned as Zonal champions. And those qualified will take part in the one-round Finals, where the FIA APRC champion is decided.
The first round was held in Japan for both Asia and Pacific Cups. After the second round, the South India Rally, New Zealand will host two Pacific Cup rounds in Otago and Whangarei followed by three Asia Cup rounds in Indonesia, China and Grand Finale, the Danau Toba Rally in Indonesia from Nov 24 to 26 which completes the 7-round APRC.