Yokohama Tyres returns to the Indian National Rally Championship
News has come in of an impending Japanese presence in the FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship 2020, with tyre manufacturer Yokohama set to make a comeback, that too by competing under the Team Yokohama banner. The brand, which has made its presence felt across the Indian market over the last decade, was a regular at the INRC and even took the 2016 championship title, with Karna Kadur at the helm.
However, the brand parted ways with the INRC (and rallying in general) at the end of 2016. Hence, the prospect of the brand re-entering the rallying arena is an exciting one indeed, more so as it now boasts a lineup led by defending champion Chetan Shivram, along with Denn Thimayya, Lokesh Gowda, Vaibhav Marathe and Arjun Rao.
Denn Thimmaiya will be competing in INRC 1 category driving the R2 Mitsubishi Cedia, while Lokesh Gowda and Chetan Shivram will drive the Cedia and Volkswagen Polo respectively in the INRC 2 category. Meanwhile, Arjun Rao will also be driving a Polo, albeit as a part of INRC 3 and Vaibhav Marathe, driving a Honda City VTEC, will exhibit his skills in the INRC 4 category. Further, the Team will be driving on the Yokohama’s flagship Advan rally tyres: 185/65R15 A035 and 185/60R15 A035 for the gravel sections, and 185/60R13 A021 and 190/580R15 A006T for Tarmac sections.
Speaking about the brand's return to the INRC, Harshwardhan Honmode, director, Yokohama India said, “Globally Yokohama has been participating in various motorsport events including FIA championships like WTCR (World Touring Car Cup) and the Super GT. Motorsport not only gives us insights to develop better products but is also an extension of motoring lifestyle, which, we at Yokohama strive to provide motorists all over the world.”
He further added, “With the government recognising motorsport as a discipline of sports, promoters and organisers putting their best foot forward to promote the sports, we do see changing scenario of Indian motorsport. Taking the global philosophy of association with motorsport ahead, we decided to participate in the INRC 2020.”
The 2020 Indian National Rally Championship, shortened as a result of the long Covid-19 shutdowns, is set to kick off in December with the first two rounds at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh followed by the next three in south India (Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu; Hampi and Bengaluru, Karnataka).