Team JK Tyre is back in rallying!
Indian rally’s most flamboyant rally team is set to make its return to the Indian National Rally Championship in 2019
TO ANY ONE WHO HAS FOLLOWED rallying in the past, there was no doubt that Indian rallying was at its absolute peak back in the nineties. The days when two of the biggest tyre manufacturers in India, JK Tyre and MRF were going bumper-to-bumper, in a full-on dogfight for the coveted rally titles. Rallying got so many eyeballs, the grids were huge and the pockets were equally deep. The sport has now come down to only one works team, Mahindra Adventure who have been trouncing everyone in sight. To be the next big thing (again) Team JK Tyre plans to find new talented wheelmen, for a full-fledged attack on the 2019 Indian National Rally Championship.
JK Tyre's initial blueprint suggested that they would enter the championship with a 4WD rally car, specifically the VW Polo R5 which would have upped the game. This idea unfortunately was postponed to 2020, because the 4WD class, although still in existence, will not be declared as the victor. There is still speculation as to whether the 4WD cars will qualify for the national rally championship starting 2020. The addition of the 4WD cars and the new R2C class,
was an effort to push Indian manufacturers to bring their own rally cars. The eyes now, are on Indian-built rally cars like the VW Polo R2C which is a step-up on the already quick R2. Multipletimes national champion, Hari Singh will manage the rally team, right from testing the rally cars to guiding the return of the JK Tyre rally team along with their good friend Karamjit Singh who is a Malaysian professional rally driver.
As for Volkswagen and JK Tyre, the partnership is set to resume. But the team is testing what the Indian manufacturers have to offer. It would be easier for JK Tyre to use Indian-built rally cars from Indian manufacturers because spare parts and tech would be accessible. They plan on using the Ultima XRG tyres, which were developed in 2013. There are also talks between the Champions Yacht Club, the new INRC promoters and JK Tyre to provide these tyres at a subsidised cost to competitors, to make rallying more cost effective. While the drivers have already been shortlisted, there has been no announcement. All we can say right now is, “Team JK is back!”.
Above: The Volkswagen Polo R2C, powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged motor being tested at the Popular Rally 2018