Indian Racing League returns to Hyderabad for season finale

The season opener that was held in the city on November 19-20 was called off due to technical failure and a host of logistical issues. However, Akhilesh Reddy, the man in charge of the race, is confident of hosting a successful season finale.

Akhilesh Reddy, chairman of RPPL, at the race paddock ahead of the season finale of the Indian Racing League. 

Akhilesh Reddy, chairman of RPPL, at the race paddock ahead of the season finale of the Indian Racing League.  | Photo Credit: Varun Kumar Mukhia

The season opener that was held in the city on November 19-20 was called off due to technical failure and a host of logistical issues. However, Akhilesh Reddy, the man in charge of the race, is confident of hosting a successful season finale.

Hyderabad is all set to host the season finale of the Indian Racing League (IRL) as India’s first street race returns to the city after two weeks for a weekend showdown.

Along the picturesque Necklace Road on the banks of Hussain Sagar lake, with the iconic statue of Gautam Buddha in the backdrop, drivers arrived in jumpsuits to get a feel of the circuit with the race organisers carrying out final inspection ahead of the first qualifying race on Saturday. 

The season opener that was held in the city on November 19-20 was called off due to technical failure and a host of logistical issues. However, Akhilesh Reddy, chairman of RPPL, the man in charge of the race, is confident of hosting a successful season finale.

“Firstly, I want to clarify that Formula E and Indian Racing League are not the same and there was a lot of confusion despite clarifications. In the first event, there were a couple of flaws as we could not get the gate closures as planned and we had to do a lot of things at the last minute. But this time we are well equipped and are confident of hosting a successful one,” Akhilesh told  Sportstar in an exclusive chat at the race paddock on Friday.

Race officials at work ahead of the Indian Racing League weekend races in Hyderabad. 

Race officials at work ahead of the Indian Racing League weekend races in Hyderabad.  | Photo Credit: Varun Kumar Mukhia

Detailing the specifics that led to the cancellation of the season opener on November 20, the chairman said, “On the pre-race day, we were supposed to start at 8:00 AM but the race qualification started at 2:30 PM. JK Tyre championship was there alongside as the supporting race and it was their 25th year, silver jubilee, so we had to give them full time for their races to finish so that shifted our schedule. On the race day we had a couple of issues, first with the brake fluid, so were sorting it out and that delayed us from hosting our race as JK had to finish their races as they were into their championship closing and we had to give them the track to run the race. That’s why we couldn’t complete the race on. But this time, no such thing will happen and we have already run through our checklists.”

Chaotic scenes were witnessed during the inaugural race as many fans could not witness the race despite having valid tickets as there was a communication breakdown between the organisers and the officials.

Acknowledging the lapses, Akhilesh said, “There were too many invitees as the street circuit was happening for the first time in India. We thought the crowd wouldn’t be too interested but to our surprise, which is good for the sport, there were so many fans who turned up to watch the race and it was good to see so many motorsport fans in India. But, yes, we miscalculated the turnout and there was no bifurcation between the ticket buyers and the invitees and that made things hectic and it was a case of over-capacity. We refunded the amount within a day.

“But this time, we have bifurcated the invitees, ticket holders and the VVIP guests. We have made separate arenas and they are going to stick to their designated enclosures. We will make sure there is no trespassing and we have increased the security in order to keep the race more organised this time.”

Pandemonium reigned inside the race track also during the opener as the lack of foot-over bridges forced fans to cross the race track and navigate adjacent to the pitlane section on their way to the designated seating arena. But, this time, the authorities have installed the foot-over bridges and cordoned off the race track, keeping it strictly off-limits to the general public. 

“We have constructed three foot-over bridges so that people don’t have to cross the track. Since the foot-over bridges were not there in place last time, we had to stop the race and then allow people inside but this time there won’t be any such issues,” he said.

From a fresh coat of paint to a robust tyre wall and flashy pit lane exit lights, the 2.8 km stretch with 17 twists is ready to test the drivers and thrill fans when the lights go green.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :
Download Sportstar App
Download Sportstar App
 Daily football podcast
Connect With Us