Coimbatore, July 29 (IANS) Thirty-two teams will be in fray at the opening round of the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) 2017 here on Sunday, with the countrys best rallyists squaring off and renewing their battles for top honours, glory and handsome winners purses. Also Read - Anti-China Protests in Arunachal Pradesh, Xi Jinping's Effigy Burnt 

Two-time APRC champion Gaurav Gill (Team Mahindra Adventure), defending champion Karna Kadur (ARKA Motorsports INRC), two-time INRC champion Amittrajit Ghosh (Team Mahindra Adventure) and Arjun Rao (AR Racing) are likely to be the main contenders for the title once again. Also Read - Arunachal Pradesh: BJP Wins Pasighat Civic Body Polls, JD(U) Bags 9 Seats in Itanagar Municipal Corporation

The rally will cover a distance of 200 kilometres in and around Kethanur, on the outskirts of Coimbatore, with 71.40 kilometres earmarked for five special stages on gravel roads. Also Read - Nitish Kumar's JD(U) Receives Big Jolt in Arunachal Pradesh as Six Out of Seven MLAs Join BJP

It traverses through closed sections of both public and private roads and the entire route map has already been shared with the competitors for reconnaissance.

Commenting on the event, Arindam Ghosh, Director, RRPM said: “The 2017 edition of INRC is a big season for us. For the first time, we will be hosting a round in Arunachal Pradesh and the good news is that it is being backed by Arunachal Tourism. This is a great development as globally tourism plays a major role in sponsoring motor sports, including in the WRC.”

In all, there will be six rounds this year and all of them will be held in different locales and different terrains which will test the skills of the drivers to the hilt.

During the media interaction, the main contenders looked eager and confident.

“Last year my car broke down so I couldn’t be among the top contenders. But that’s in the past,” Gaurav Gill said.

“I am ready and raring to go now. We are going to have new car set-ups from the next round which will make the cars faster and so a lot more exciting for us,” he added.

FMSCI president Akbar Ebrahim agreed that the new rally season would be highly competitive.

“We have close to 35 teams which is a very good start,” he said. “We have six rounds which will test the drivers a lot more,” he said.

Defending champion Karna Kadur, who will be competing for a new team this season, conceded that he would need some time to get his car into the groove.

“Beyond that, though, I am feeling good and confident. It should be fun as we have more rounds,” he said.

Amittrajit also revealed that he was a little rustic as he hadn’t been in a rally car for seven months.

“I will get into my rhythm soon,” he said, talking about his chances.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.