CHENNAI : You shouldn’t be surprised if you see a managing director of Toyota Kirloskar Motors (in India) competing with the likes of Gaurav Gill and Amittrajit Ghosh in the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC). Akito Tachibana, 55, the company’s India head, did it on Sunday at the 40th South India Rally in Chennai to promote the sport.Tachibana, along with his co-driver Katsuhisa Idei, jumped into a slightly modified basic Toyota Etios diesel car with a purpose and a message. “I am competing this race to promote and encourage youngsters to take up the sport.”
The Madras Motor Racing Track reverberated even as the Japanese burnt rubber on the track. His aggregate time to finish the 10 stages was clocked as 1 hour and 49 minutes, and he stood 15th. Mahindra’s Gill (Musa Sherif) finished first with a time of 1 hour and 28 minutes. Coincidentally, Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik), also of Mahindra, secured second place.
The focus, however, was on Tachibana. He had only begun his career on track six months ago at the Chikmagalur leg of the INRC. Managing directors are usually busy so how does Tachibana manage? Vinay Kumar, a manager in the engineering department, offers a few clues. “He practices at the Coimbatore circuit whenever he gets time. We have been practicing once every two weeks and saw progress.” The 55-year-old is also scheduled to take part at the Coimbatore leg, slated for July.
When asked about the track, Tachibana was all praise. “I have never seen such a track, it was just outstanding, I loved the experience throughout. I like to rally on such circuits.”How often do we see the top honchos take part in sport. It is all about their sportive spirit and the message they want to deliver to the society.
Final results: Gaurav Gill/Musa Sherif (Team Mahindra Adventure); Amittrajit Ghosh/Ashwin Naik (Team Mahindra Adventure); Karna Kadur/Nikhil V Pai (Arka Motorsports).INRC 1: Gaurav Gill/Musa Sherif; Amittrajit Ghosh/Ashwin Naik; Vicky Chandhok/Chandramouli M (VW Motorsport). INRC 2: Karna Kadur/Nikhil V Pai (Arka Motorsports); Rahul Kanthraj/Vivek Y Bhatt (Arka Motorsports); Sumit Punjabi/Shahid Salman (Snap Racing). INRC 3: Aroor Vikram Rao/Somayya AG (Falkon Motorsports); Dean Mascarenhas/Shruptha Padival (Falkon Motorsports); Fabid Ahmer/Fayaz Arakkal. FMSCI 2WD: Adith KC/Suraj K; Suraj Thomas/Sob George; Ravi MS/Priyamvada Saradhi.