Breaking fresh ground

Naren Kumar (left) with Geoff Jones, Chief Evaluator of the Subaru World Rally Team.-Naren Kumar (left) with Geoff Jones, Chief Evaluator of the Subaru World Rally Team.

Naren Kumar’s testing for the Subaru World Rally Team in Wales went off successfully. He is now poised to make history as the first Indian driver to participate in a Production World Rally Championship event, writes D. Ravi Shankar.

Naren Kumar, six times Indian National Rally Champion, may soon be sporting the colours of the Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT). After the contracts are written out, and Naren and his sponsors sign on the dotted line sometime very soon, the Indian will be driving a Subaru-prepared rally car in the Production World Rally Championship next season.

Naren, who is based in Coimba tore, Tamilnadu, was in England and Wales in the last week of September for testing. He had to undergo a number of medical tests before test-driving at the Sweet Lamb Rally Track in mid-Wales. After undergoing some reflex tests as well as a physical and psychometric test at SWRT, Naren had to go through a familiarisation process with the Subaru car. He then went for a drive at a rally driving school along with Geoff Jones, the Chief Evaluator of SWRT.

A day later the testing was intensified as the team of experts from SWRT that included Commercial Director Andy Philpott, moved to the Sweet Lamb track which is often used in the Rally of Great Britain. Naren spent a whole day driving on the steep, winding gravel, wet clay and slate track.

On each of his practice runs, Naren was accompanied by Geoff Jones, whose job was to assess the Indian as a potential driver for the PWRC. The technical team that accompanies SWRT in the World Rally Championship was also on hand to check Naren’s car after every test drive.

Naren passed the test with flying colours. Geoff Jones complimented Naren’s skill, confidence and consistency as well as his willingness to learn new techniques. “I think Naren fits in well into our scheme of things,” he said.

Richard Taylor, Managing Director of SWRT, said that the testing sessions had gone well and that further plans for the Production World Rally Championship would be drafted soon.

Naren is thus poised to make history as the first Indian driver to participate in a PWRC event.