Monday, November 29, 1999

Fresh lease of life for Formula Rolon

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Chennai, June 18 (IANS) Indian formula racing's premier class, the Formula Rolon, finally was upgraded with a more powerful engine in Suzuki 1300cc that replaced the creaking Chevrolet drive train and a tweaked-up bodywork ahead of the 13th JK Tyre National Racing Championship commencing here Saturday.Announcing this here Friday, Sanjay Sharma, Head - Motorsports, JK Tyre, said the other Formula class would be the Swift while the old workhorse, Hyundai, has bid adieu to the championship that over the years has proved to be an entry-level opportunity for aspiring racing drivers.The other category is the Indian Super Saloon (cc to weight) that has again attracted a sizeable grid with several familiar faces and also freshers. Within this class is the Indian Junior Touring Car Cup basically for freshers who will be driving essentially a stock vehicle but with modified Cylinder Head (bi-metal instead of aluminium) and Camshaft (high lift).The new Formula Rolon would put out 140bhp and will no doubt be that much quicker in view of better streamlining to facilitate a higher downforce. However, the vehicle's other characteristics in racing conditions remains to be seen.Further, the vehicle is yet to be given its first run on the track and the car's performance would be known only Saturday after the practice sessions.The Rolon class has attracted five teams, but notable absentees are the Speed-NK Racing, run by India's first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan who has since shifted to the MRF camp, and Red Rooster Racing from Bangalore who have pulled out of domestic racing. As such, the final list of drivers in this class would be known only Saturday.The Formula LGB Swift has its usual quota of five teams while the popular Super Saloons category has seven teams in the power-to-weight class and three in the junior touring car section.Incidentally, the Volkswagen Polo Cup is also part of the championship, but it was run as a stand lone as part of its formal launch in Pune last month. As such, the second round of the Polo Cup would not be run this weekend, but will rejoin the NRC programme from the next round.

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