Athens, May 30: A long cherished dream of becoming the first Indian to venture into the uncharted waters of WRC finally came true for Naren Kumar when he hit the 11.57km Schimatari Special Stage today in the Acropolis Rally of Greece.
Over the next three days the Coimbatore based driver will be competing against 27 best men from around the world in production car series, which is known as the PWRC. The Rally of Greece is considered as the toughest event on the WRC calendar. Despite the tough nature of the event the Coimbatore based driver sounded cautiously optimistic. ''All I can think is that they can never get worse than this.
The roads and stages are extremely rough. It's very important to make sure you are on the road all of the time, make a lot of kilometers and get to the finish,'' said Naren at the FIA press conference, which he addressed along with four time world rally champion, Sebastian Loeb of Citroen Total World Rally Team and current leader Mikko Hirvonen of BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.
Earlier, Naren and his co-driver Nicky Beech went through the mandatory shakedown. The first run went off smoothly, but the Indo-British pair in Subaru Imprezza WRX STi was hit by a minor problem.
However, that's no cause of concern as the engineers and mechanics of Tommi Makinen Racing quickly rectified the problems by the time of ceremonial flag-off.
Despite being the most experienced rally driver in the country Naren pointed out that WRC takes the game at a very different level not only in terms of equipment, but also in terms of competition.
''Well, as I can say, it's very different from the rallies in our country. It's a different game altogether. We're here to see how things go; this is a two-year programme. We want to look at all of the events and learn,'' said Naren.