Mahindra Adventure has confirmed to carandbike that the factory team will not be participating in the upcoming 2020 Indian National Rally Championship. The short duration of the 2020 season was one of the key reasons for the company to pull out of the championship. The announcement is huge considering Mahindra Adventure is the only factory team and has dominated the championship since its arrival in 2013. However, the team is offering its rally-prepped Super XUV300s to drivers Gaurav Gill and Musa Sherif as well as Amitrajit Ghosh and Ashwin Kumar to enter as privateers in the upcoming campaign.
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Responding to a query raised by carandbike, Mahindra Adventure said, "Mahindra Adventure rally team will not be officially entering the INRC season. Our rally prepared Super XUV300s are offered to Gaurav/Musa and Amitrajit/ Ashwin to enter as privateers. The short duration if the season (2 months) does not allow adequate time to do any marketing/promotional activities which otherwise would have been spread through the year."
The decision comes in the wake of the pandemic that put several motorsport events and championships off the rail. INRC too was postponed indefinitely at the start of the year with the current season salvaged into a short two month period comprising five rounds. It doesn't help that the initial rounds at being conducted in the North-East, which makes it logistically more difficult in these times - both physically and financially. The 2020 INRC will begin on December 16/17 in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, and will culminate on January 30/31, 2021, in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
However, Mahindra Adventure did say that the decision to pull out of INRC is a one-off. The team remains committed to the sport and will make a comeback in future seasons. However, this will depend on the prevailing conditions and the team said it will make a decision in due course on entering the next season.
A statement from the company read, "Mahindra Adventure will take a call on entering the next season in due course. Mahindra Adventure is still committed to the sport and hence the decision to provide rally-ready cars to our team drivers/navigators."
The rally-spec Mahindra Super XUV300 prepared by Arka Motorsports was introduced in 2019 season with Gaurav Gill driving the turbo petrol version, while Amitrajit Ghosh drove the diesel-powered version. The subcompact SUV replaced the Mahindra Super XUV500 that went to win several rallies over the last couple of years. The Super XUV300 saw Gaurav Gill pick-up the win at the Popular Rally in Kochi.