It wasn’t to be so. Originally, it was supposed to be a drive in a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 from Chandini Chowk to the gates of the upcoming F1 track at Greater Noida. A visual heavy story, celebrating India’s big leap into the world of spent fuel and carbon fibre, of scrambelled air waves and huge Scania team bigrigs. But then, one thing led to another and the LP560-4 turned into a last generation Blu Caleum Gallardo 520, menacing nevertheless but it couldn’t be taken out of Delhi’s ‘under’belly. That immediately meant shifting into a Plan C, which in <I>BSM<I> terms means trying to find something to ‘go along with it’, and of course completely unplanned. Raj Kapoor, ex-Rallyist, a Storm junkie and a dear friend suddenly found himself on the wrong side of the bed one Saturday morning, trying to convince his client to come along with his car for a memorable shoot. Everything was being worked out in a state of semi-consciousness and I couldn’t gauge the severity of the event, until Anant, Raj and said car, the 1982 Lotus Esprit Turbo turned up to pose for shots next to the Gallardo.
Damn, this thing kicks like a mule. It’s also a bloody furnace inside, my eyes are stinging from the streaming sweat, I’m covered in a few layers of dust and, I’m having the time of my life. It’s what I’ve wanted to do for a long time – a simple Sunday out with the chaps, take some time off from doing what we love, to do more of what we love – a boys’ day out, so to speak. No hassles, no worries, no need to shave. Office can wait till tomorrow.
The evolution of the Mahindra XUV5OO into the all-conquering Super XUV5OO rally car
The mere fact that I was born with rather useless nipples is enough for me to disagree with Darwin and his theory of evolution. Give me an unsuspecting crowd and the best liquids from Scotland and I can unravel how magnificent the concept of single cellular organisms are and how the multi-cellular humans can aspire to evolve into something like an amoeba. Since proving such evolutionary traits would need a forum like National Geographic and since I write this column in evo India magazine, I will stick to the evolution of cars.
Motorsport creates the ultimate expression of any automotive species. That is why there are vehicles and then there are vehicles. What you see in these pages falls firmly in the latter category. Similarly, there are drivers and then there are drivers, and I’m well entrenched in the former type. The upshot is, being an automotive journalist enables me to get behind the wheels of cars like this, the Mahindra Super XUV 500 piloted by Gaurav Gill, one of the best rally drivers India has produced. One type meets another.
There’s a time for subtlety and skill. There’s a time for brute power. That pret much sums up what off-roading is all about. Now, my cumulative off-roading experience is limited (rather severely, I might add) to mostly my building’s parking lot and the ‘roads’ that I’ve encountered on my trips out of town and I thought I pretty much had the measure of this dirt-bashing business. But this is different. How different? Well, when a giant-wheeled monster is pointing towards the ground at an angle of more than 50 degrees, it’s usually out of the normal for people like me.