Eastern region of the country witness a National Rally Championship after 4 years of dormant period.Since there was a gap,this rally was really hyped about. But even though it was rally de kolkata the stages were actually held in Durgapur.
Sept 17 : Initial plan for Day 1 was a 23.5KM dirt stage with two rounds in it.But since it was raining heavily in Durgapur ,It was until the last moment the stages were cut short by almost half (12KM) with two legs a 5.79KM and 6.22KM run thrice.17th was the pre event day.I was planning to attends the press conference but because of rain I reached late which was good,since most reporters left, I was able to chitchat with some rally drivers including Amitrajit.It was an amazing experience.
Sept 18 : The event was supposed to flag off from Hotel Ginger at around 7AM .I reached there when 4 cars already left.It was my time to hurry to the stage which is almost 50KM even from Durgapur.On reaching the stage , I made an attempt to reach the spectator point 1 but rain and dirt made a good mix and my car got stuck.However was able to reach the start point.The track was dry and hard , very good for pace filled rally ,which which everybody started . It was me first time witnessing a rally of this sort.I walked almost a KM ahead into the first corner and made a spectator point myself.It was hot,sun overhead so after SS1,it was not so easy to make to 6.22KM stage ,so went back home and kept an eye on the live updates. The track took its toll as news came by people were crashing some can’t keep the car in control and unfortunately Vikram crashed due to wrong information from the officals into Arjun Balu’s car .
Sept 19 : The stage on duel was suppose to start on 7:18AM and stage on gram at around 8:16AM ,Easy for rally cars but not for me.so stayed back home and kept an eye on live updates.Day 2 has seen most of the actions and upturns in leader board,including someone hitting a cameramen near FF.Most biggies were out due to mechanical faliures including some Gypsy’s.There was even a holdup somewhere in the middle of the stage.
Sept 20 : Day 2 has already seen Gaurav Gill in comfortable lead of 1 min and 17 sec ahead of Amitrajit Ghosh followed by Sujay in 1600cc Baleno. Spectator Special Stage was held in Jadavpur Stadium in Jadavpur ,Kolkata. The competitors lined up at around 3 PM.But Gaurav got stuck in wet ground .His front wheel drive cars has enough grunt to make the pit deeper.But with help from his service crew,he set himself free. The SSS was tough on esteems who were already struggling with the 560KM of travel of which more than 460 was just Liason stages. Gypys’s flying and so are baleno’s but both cedia made the SSS really special. Gaurav clocked the 2km stage in 1:25 and Amitrajit in 1:27 . So Gaurav wins as he extends his leads by 2 more secs.
Some points to note :
1. 460Km of transport stages is too tough on cars .it could have been less.
2. Officials could have been a little bit more experienced,On Day 2 the top 4 cars almost got penaltied due to a silly mistake by a marshal .
3.Privateers suffered a lot because of last minute decision changes which sparked anger in them(as far as current rally.co.in forum posts goes ).I also feels the same.More coverage and attention on privateers would have really helped the event.
4.As most participant are from South of the country, number of entries were 38 as compared to 60 in K1000 Bangalore.
As an event this was great to watch.Hopefully we will be able to see it next year again. I learn’t a lot about cars,driving styles and met some great drivers and my trigger happy me was really very happy.