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No more Indian challenge in WRC

other Updated: May 23, 2009 23:30 IST
Sukhwant Basra
Sukhwant Basra
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

India’s challenge in the Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) has ground to a halt on account of contractual hassles between Team Sidvin India and Delhi driver Gaurav Gill. The points winner (he got two for finishing seventh) from Rally Portugal last month did not start in the ongoing Rally Italy being held in Sardinia.

Sidvin had chosen to sideline Naren Kumar for Gill this season but have withdrawn from after just two rounds.

“Gill is a contracted driver with MRF till February 2010 and one of the clauses does not allow him to wear branding of any other tyre manufacturer in a motorsport event. We use Pirelli tyres in PWRC and while MRF has told us that they do not have any objection, it is a sticky situation as we don’t own complete rights to the driver,” explains Sidvin India promoter Mohan Nagarajan. “As such, we can’t hope to recover any investment since we can’t sell him further to other sponsors.”

“I have had my MRF contract since before I started driving for Sidvin. The current objection is strange, as I have already done two events this year — Cyprus and Portugal. Since MRF has given its go-ahead I don’t understand what Sidvin is now objecting to,” says Gill.

Rumours in motorsport circles insist that Sidvin is trying to cut its losses while it still can and that it has run out of funds. Nagarajan though says: “Investing money is not the problem but we just can’t play second fiddle. This also does not mean the end of our participation at the world stage. Once Gill’s contract with MRF ends we will take him on for the 2010 season.”

Meanwhile, Nagarajan is looking to explore the potential of driver Lohit Urs.