Great comeback:Red Rooster Racing's V. R. Naren Kumar (left) and co-driver D. Ram Kumar at the Kethanur Windmill Farm, near Coimbatore, on Saturday.
Comeback king V.R. Naren Kumar (co-driver Ram Kumar), representing Red Rooster Racing, left a small gathering in a delirious mood with his daredevil skills on a dustbowl of a terrain in the Speed-INRC Rally of Coimbatore for four wheelers at the Kethanur Windmill Farm, 45 km away from the city, on Saturday.
The 35-year-old businessman from Coimbatore, who is back after a four-year break in the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC), never looked rusty at any stage. He attacked the stages with vigour and had the crowd cheering him all the way.
What prompted Naren to stage a comeback?
“It was a sort of a semi-retirement for me from the INRC. I made a comeback mainly because my team Red Rooster Racing wanted me in,” said the classy fighter, who has also driven in the Production World Rally Championship.
He said his team supported him in times of need. “They sponsored me for the big championships without expecting anything in return. Also, I have a good relationship with N. Leelakrishnan (the team's technical director). So when they approached me I obliged,” said Naren. Leelakrishnan was happy as well with his performance. “He was the fastest in almost all the stages.”
About Naren handling the faster car, he said Naren has had some testing and has got used to it. “You will see the best of him as the championship goes on,” he added.
Co-driver Ram enjoyed the day as much as Naren. “The last time (2006) we drove in a 2000 N category but this time it is 2000 N+ class. The car is much quicker and I had to be sharp and quick as well with the pace notes,” said Ram.
He said driving in a familiar terrain made things a bit easier for them. Naren knows the terrain like the palm of his hand.
He first drove here in 1993. And from then the terrain has been at his mercy.
Driving after a long break did not affect his chances at all. He handled the special stages with ease and aplomb to win the opening day honours.