Hyderabad will not be hosting the second season of the Indian Racing League (IRL) as the racing carnival has been shifted to Chennai after failing to obtain a clearance certificate from the police department.
The street circuit race was supposed to kick off on November 4–5, but the organisers couldn’t get the requisite permission from the police department.
Top sources told Sportstar that governing bodies including the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) had no objection in assisting the race to be held in the city. However, the police department succumbed to the pressure with elections around the corner.
“We have to move to Chennai, and it’s heartbreaking that the race which kicked off in Hyderabad has to be shifted to a different venue. Overall, the entire logistics changes and we have to make other arrangements in our approach,” a top source associated with the handling of IRL said.
The second season was supposed to start in Hyderabad and then move to New Delhi with Chennai hosting the season finale. However, the sudden decision to move the race from Hyderabad to Chennai caused a disturbance in the team set-up.
“Road closure has been the issue, and when they can close it for religious festivals, the barricade for racing shouldn’t have been a problem. That too it’s a weekend and the race could have gone as per earlier scheduling without any issues.”
“We were well prepared and had our parameters in place to host the race. The F4 Indian Championship is one of its kind, and it’s a setback for the racing league. A minimum of 2 crore loss is what we are looking at and this is not good for the racing business,” the source said.
The enthusiasm for the event among the general public was largely visible with fans scouting for tickets during the inaugural season. With the last-minute change in plans this time round, IRL has promised that full refunds will be issued to ticket holders.
Hyderabad Blackbirds, Godspeed Kochi, Bangalore Speedsters, Chennai Turbo Riders, Goa Aces, and Speed Demons Delhi will be the six teams competing in the league, with each team consisting of a female driver.
A senior official from the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) said that the upcoming elections in the state played a key role in the racing league not getting permission to host the event.
“The elections are coming up and that played a major part in IRL not hosting the race in Hyderabad. Crowd gatherings are not allowed during this time is what we are told by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and we are following the instructions penned down by them. It’s a very tricky situation, and we can’t do much,” the source said.
When asked if the mandate could have an impact on the city hosting the Formula E event next year, the source said: “I don’t think this will have any impact but we will have a clear picture once the elections are over. As of now, Hyderabad is scheduled to host Formula E but not IRL.”
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