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

Evo India - - CONTENTS -

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

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