Top rally drivers for Arunachal Festival of Speed

Dirang , Arunachal Pradesh: Some of India's top rally drivers have confirmed their participation in the third JK Tyre Arunachal Festival of Speed (AFOS) to be held here in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh from March 28 to 30. The USP of AFOS is that it combines three forms of off-road racing -- Auto Cross, Rally Sprint and Hill Climb -- on a single platform. With a total prize fund of Rs.8.5 lakh, AFOS is one of the richest motorsports events in the country. This year the inclusion of the two-wheeler class apart from four-wheelers will add to the excitement. With the aim to boost tourism in the state, the Department of Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, is the co-sponsor of the event. Dirang, which serves as the gateway to the famous Tawang Monastery, is hemmed by majestic mountains of the Eastern Himalayas, lying in the lap of pristine nature. Surrounded by virgin forests and gurgling streams. Dirang is famous for its Yak Research Centre and apple and kiwi plantations. Organised by the Motorsports Club of Arunachal, AFOS provides a perfect opportunity to rally drivers from the North East to rub shoulders with some of the best in the business from the rest of the country. The organisers have received confirmation of participation from some of the top rally drivers. The big names include Suresh Rana, nine-time winner of Raid de Himalaya, experienced Gaurav Chiripal from Delhi, Rahul Kantraj, national champion in Group N 2000 class in the Indian National Rally Championship and Dean Mascarenhas. The event will also feature local favourite Jitu Kalita. "This year we have increased the total prize fund to Rs.8.5 lakh. This event is all about promoting motorsports in the North East, which is very rich in talent. For drivers from the region it's a dream come true to compete and rub shoulders with some of the best rally drivers in the country," Motorsports Club of Arunachal president Lhakpa Tsering said. Auto Cross, which is a closed circuit off-road racing, will take place at Lopon Stadium here. It will be a day and night affair. The Hill Climb covering a distance of 5 km will be held in apple and kiwi farms in the adjoining Runja village while the Rally Sprint test, which aims to simulate a single stage rally, will be run on a 5 km loop at the picturesque Sangti valley. All three disciplines will be run against the clock and the fastest to the finish line will be declared winners of individual events. The overall podium finishers will be decided on the basis of combined scores.