Team Yokohama launched for 2015 motor-sports in India
Seasoned drivers Rahul Kanthraj and Vivek Bhatt will form part of the newly-launched Team Yokohama which will compete in 1600 and 2000 cc categories of the Indian Rally Championships (IRC) this season.
Yokohama India Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japanese tyre major Yokohama, announced its team on <g data-gr-id="30">Tuesday .</g>
Karna Kadur and M Chandrashekar will drive Volkswagen Polo in 1600 cc competition, Sanjay Chatterjee, General Manager of the company, said.
Kanthraj and Bhatt have participated in over 75 rallies and won four group and national champions and finished <g data-gr-id="33">runner up</g> on four other occasions.
"Vivek had opportunities to navigate in 2004, and between 2006 and 2007, but refused to navigate, and said if he navigates it will be for me, not anybody else, and that is the reason we bonded and stuck on for a very long time," he added.
Kanthraj said his partnership began with Bhatt after his co-driver Sujith backed out in the last minute of a motorsport event in 2000.
"I actually started driving in 2000. I was supposed to drive with another person called Sujith. Sujith backed out in the last minute and that's how Vivek came in for driving. Actually, I had seen him earlier but haven't interacted. I think he performed phenomenally in <g data-gr-id="31">first</g> rally," he said.
Asked whether Yokohama is for a long haul in giving support to the sport, Chatterjee said the company would like to continue for a long time, but only a tyre manufacturer cannot run the show alone, the sport needs support of car manufacturers and tuners.
"Right now, we are having drivers and tuners, but ideally if we get one car manufacturer, I think it will be good for the survival of motorsport, not only in India, but also all over the world," Chatterjee said. "We have set game plans since the partnership is new and the car is also new. Ideally, we are looking for <g data-gr-id="42">podium</g> finish in the championship rally," he said.
Participating in 1,600 category, <g data-gr-id="29">Kadur</g> has been part of over 95 (two and four wheelers) events.