While most of the competitive racing (rally) around the globe is done on closed, asphalt circuits, rallying, in particular, is an off-road event with the typical loose surfaces gravel, dirt, ice, snow, and as such, being a rally car’s cup of Joe. The World Rally Championship, organized by the FIA since 1973 is as prestigious an event as it can get with numerous teams in different classes competing on 13 (according to the recent WRC calendar) venues for a whole weekend, with each venue consisting of 15 to 25 different stages run against the clock.
The competition cars, mandatorily based on production cars, like in every other racing competition, are true engineering masterpieces. Capable of dishing out over 310 bhp of peak power from a measly 1.6 liters four-cylinder engines with the help of regulation performance boosts like direct injection, turbochargers with anti-lag systems to name a few and coupled with a 6-speed sequential gearbox and an all-wheel-drive system with active differentials launching the car from a standstill to a 100 kmph in under 4 seconds before maxing out at about 200. Without the strict FIA regulations, however, there have been cars that are faster off the line than an F1 car! That is anything but scary fast. From the era of the Lancias, Ford Escorts, Audi Quattros, and the Citroens to the Mitshubishis and the Subarus, the World Rally Championship has never failed to excite followers and enthusiasts as such while fund-wise being a better bargain than other racing events of the highest order.
Coming to the context, dive into your mind palace and call to mind the most serene of places you have ever witnessed or have ever thought of, within the country. Talking about the elephant in the room, which is the geography of the country, visualize the sort of roads that would lead up to those places. Roads that lead to the deep blue lakes, chilly mountain ranges, temples, and shrines atop the svelte hills, we all know what they are like. We are so accustomed to a bit of adventure within the journey itself, it’s fair to say that we are more than just your average run of the mill thrill-seekers. It must be pretty clear about what is being imposed. Yes, a rally stage built around the toughest of terrains by popular choice. Of course no marks for guessing or even remotely assuming the sort of responsibility one would have to bear if by any means an opportunity is presented, the situation of the nation itself not helping the case.
Being nonchalant for a moment and assuming that we got the green light to host one of the stages of the rally championship if we could just gather the most enthusiastic and resourceful men and women of the country, what a tale it would be to tell. What it would mean for the country and the eager people that reside here if the event could be held successfully and be able to feature regularly in the WRC calendar. 15 to 20 sections of harsh off-road challenges giving way to a destination so awesome, the destination itself being the most coveted prize among all. And if people had not already known how amazing this place is, they would be having another reason too. If our neighboring nation could organize an F1 race, and with lesser infrastructures required, why can’t we? Watching a rally car go screaming around a corner, sideways, with loud wastegate noises and pops and bangs with its tires biting hard on the surface for grip, leaving a trail of dirt and gravel all over the place or going airborne over bumps and crests is certainly on my wish list, that too in my home country and I don’t want to believe I am the only one! So all those in favor say…