What was supposed to be Bangalore’s entry on the international rallying map turned into total chaos by Friday afternoon.
The Bangalore K1000 rally was doubling up as a candidate round, in lay terms, a test event, for winning a spot on the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) calendar. But even before the start of the rally the International Motorsports Federation (FIA) and APRC observers have deemed the event “unsafe” and withdrawn the international permit.
Chairman four-wheeler racing commission of the FMSCI, (Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India), Vicky Chandhok put the blame squarely on the rally organisers: the Karnataka Motor Sports Club. He said they had bid for the contender round, but proved “incapable of delivering an event that was up to international standards.”
The stewards felt the event failed to conform to safety norms. The shakedown before the event also had to be canceled because the observers declared that Indian fire extinguishing equipment and ambulances were not up to the mark as per global standards.
“We got the best that was available. However, we can’t import fire tenders from abroad. We have taken down their suggestions and will do what we can,” said Bharath Raj, vice president KMSC.
Top-grade equipment apart, there were also some basics that were not in place. The supplementary regulations are supposed to be out three weeks before the event but were eventually handed to the contestants less than a week before. The road books for the course had mistakes leading to protests by 19 privateer participants.
One of the criteria for the candidate round is to have at least two international cars running. The event had two Sri Lankan cars, which could not even keep pace with the Indian National Rally Championship cars.
Given that F1 is coming to the country next year, the Indian motor sports community needs to put its best foot forward at every opportunity. And the Bangalore round turned out to be a step down.
“It reflects badly on India as an organiser,” said Chandhok. “The Karnataka Motor Sports Club has let us down and needs to be penalised. But let’s make it very clear that F1 is circuit racing and a completely different event from a rally. It’s not right to draw parallels.”