The upcoming edition of Champions Yacht Club FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) 2021 will be a historic one for Indian motorsports as 10 women drivers and co-drivers will line up on the grid for the first time after coming out on top in a nation-wide talent hunt conducted here at the Unite Off-Road Track.
The one-of-a-kind selection and training programme was conducted by former INRC champion Chetan Shivram and supported by the promoter of INRC Vamsi Merla.
A total of 25 talented but unheralded women racers were shortlisted from across the country and were given beginners' and advanced training in rally cars by ace rallyists Suhem Kabeer and Dhruva Chandrashekar before the ultimate shootout. The winners were judged on the basis of their lap timings in the final selection round which was supervised by an FMSCI jury team.
Athira Murali of Kottayam emerged the winner and will be co-driven by her city mate George Varghese. Renuka G of Andhra Pradesh (& Chandni Kotian of Mumbai), Ojasvi Mehta of Mumbai (& Belgaum's Isha Sharma), Anupma Bindra of Gurgaon (& Pallavi Yadav of Mumbai) and mother-daughter duo from Mumbai Shiv Parmar (& Dr.V Parmar) are the other drivers who made the final cut.
"My commitment towards supporting existing and upcoming 'Women in Motorsports' made me launch this initiative. We had planned this last year as well but unfortunately due to the pandemic we had to shelf it. But with normalcy finally getting restored in the country we finally went ahead this year and now here we are with 10 highly talented women finally getting the platform and support they deserve," Vamsi Merla said.
"We even fully sponsored the selection round and took care of all expenses of the participants including travel, stay, rally cars, training. This is the first event of its kind happening in the history of INRC and we have plans to make it a yearly affair. I am really looking forward to seeing these ladies on the track and hopefully this will mark a new beginning for Indian motorsports," Vamsi added.
The next edition of the INRC kicks-off with the South India Rally on April 23-25 in Chennai which also doubles up as the Asia round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
( With inputs from ANI )
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