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FIA forces FMSCI-MAI patch-up

Calcutta, Oct. 18: Motorsports in India is finally set to re-enter the sunrise era. In a path-breaking move, and with a strong advisory from the Federation Internationale de Automobile (FIA), the world’s motorsport body, at its general assembly in Paris Thursday, the two warring bodies in India — the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) and the Motorsports Association of India (MAI) — have decided to kiss and make up.

That means though the two bodies remain separate in their localised activities, there now exists a broad and legal consensus on the licensing and permit procedures. The dual-logo joint licence formula that had been espoused some time back, has been accepted by the FIA, headed by the powerful Max Moseley. Motoring competitions — four-wheeler rallies, races et al — will now be held with joint logos.

FMSCI president Vicky Chandhok, who attended the Paris assembly, told The Telegraph over phone from Chennai: “Basically, the FMSCI remains the National Sports Federation of the government of India (a technical matter of recognition). The MAI is the Automobile Sporting National (ASN) as recognised by the FIA in India (and has the logical powers which, the FIA wants, the association to ‘share’ with the FMSCI.

“The FIA had sent a notice of expulsion (to FMSCI). To this, our legal advisors went to Paris in April and explained the realities of the situation. The FIA has now accepted the explanation,” said Chandhok.

The impasse that existed for the last two years between the Nazir Hoosein-led MAI and the FMSCI has now been cleared, though with a rider that any future obstruction to processes will call for punitive action from the FIA.

The bigger impact of this is on the financial front. The two tyre majors who were at loggerheads on this issue — JK Tyre, backing FMSCI and MRF, backing MAI — should now be able to sit across the table and sort out ticklish sponsorship problems. With Maruti Suzuki having put in a full-blooded effort into rallying and racing in the country, more is expected.

The process has already started. The very first joint-permit event (though the FMSCI has asked the MAI to do the honours this time) will be held tomorrow with the first round of the JK Tyre National FISSME races in Sriperumbudur.

JK Tyre’s motoring chief Sanjay Sharma said there will be 20 formula Maruti cars (800 cc) and 14 Esteem salons in the race. The second, third and final rounds of this will be at the same venue on November 2, December 7 and 21.

There will be a Calcutta Grand Prix of this race this season, scheduled to happen on January 29-30.

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