APRC 2023: Jahaan Gill, Suhem Kabeer, Lokesh Gowda make up India’s challenge in final round
Danau Toba (Indonesia): Jahaan Singh Gill, Suhem Kabeer and Lokesh Gowda will make up India’s strong Indian presence in the final round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship 2023 (APRC) at the Danau Toba Rally, which will be held here from November 24-26 here.
They will be part of the JK Tyre Motorsport team in the rally that will officially start on Friday followed by Leg 1 on Saturday and Leg 2 on Sunday followed by prize giving..
Considered one of the toughest rallies on the circuit, the Danau Toba Rally will run on gravel and cover a distance of 433 km, with 150.35 km earmarked for 11 special stages and one super special stage.
On a combined grid of 63 competitive cars, out of which 18 are participating in APRC too, JK Tyre together with Vamcy Merla Sports Foundation has fielded these three young drivers under their colours.
The team will comprise Jahaan Singh Gill with co-driver Suraj Prasad, Coorg lad Suhem Kabeer with co-driver PVS Murthy and Lokesh Gowda from Mysore with co-driver Ashwin Naik.
Jahaan Singh Gill, who sealed his JINRC title in the Indian National Rally Championship, will be driving the N11 Subaru and Suhem Kabeer & Lokesh Gowda will be behind the wheels of N12 Subaru. These four-wheel drives, producing over 300bhp, are certain to spice up things over the weekend on the tricky wet surface that the rally will offer.
The competitors had their initial brush with conditions when they tested their cars for the first time on the challenging turf. Greeted with rains, it was a new experience for them as they were used to two-wheel drives back in India and it was their first outing behind the wheels of four-wheel drive cars.
Talking after the official testing session, Jahaan who has just in the last weekend sealed his Championship title back home in the JINRC and is also leading in the INRC 3 category is expected to carry forward the momentum in his maiden international outing said, “We are looking forward to this rally because it is something different which we had never experienced before. Thanks to JK Tyre & Vamcy Merla for this opportunity to drive in the finals of APRC.”
“We tested the car and realised it’s a totally different ball game. These cars are much faster than what we drive back home. Braking and acceleration usage is limited as these cars don’t turn with steering input but use throttle in the corners, unlike our two-wheel drive cars where we brake much later. As of now, our main aim is to get used to the car and focus on completing the rally more than anything else,” he further added.
Sharing the same sentiment, Suhem Kabeer from Bangalore said, “Stepping onto the international stage is a thrilling challenge and a new road to conquer. We are happy with the progress so far and will give it our best shot during the weekend.”
Lokesh, making his comeback into rallying after a break, knows the challenges that lie ahead but is confident of using all his experience and making it count. His seasoned co-driver Ashwin Naik has helped him get up to paces with the car and said, “It is a new learning for all of us and we want to make the most of it and have a good weekend with an aim to strive for the podium.”