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On Women's Day, we salute all the motor-sporting ladies

(Written by Mr. Sanjay Sharma, Head - JK Tyre Motorsports, published in Times of India on 08 March, 2019)

On the special occasion of Women's Day, I would like to offer my congratulations to all the ladies who stepped into the wonderful world of motorsports in the last couple of years.

It is a joy to see so many of them getting behind the wheel or jumping on to their bikes or into their cars to participate in national championships and competing against men as equals.

They have not only broken the stereotype that racing, rallying or biking is for men but are also chasing their own dreams of making it big on the world stage.

We at JK Tyre Motorsport take great pride in this development, especially as we have played a significant role in making this happen.

FMSCI has been very receptive to the idea too and it has taken many initiatives of its own to attract women to the tracks. It created a separate wing for ladies, and under the stewardship of Ms. Sita Raina, has already garnered a lot of traction.

We have made a beginning and I am positive that it won't be long before they begin to rule this world too.

The iconic JK Tyre National Racing Championship has seen more than a handful of women competing in the years gone by. Sneha Sharma and Mira Erda have become role models for many with their path-breaking efforts.

Indeed, both of them were even invited for the qualifying rounds of the inaugural W-series, a Formula One initiative for women from around the world.

We also saw an all-women's team, Ahura Racing, for the first time in action, with six girls competing in the LGB-Formula 4 championship.

There are a number of other exciting opportunities for women, starting from the Rally to the Valley in Mumbai, the Divas on Wheels in Bengaluru, the FICCI Power Drive in Delhi and the Times Women's Drive from multiple cities.

Alisha Abdullah has her own training academy while Aishwarya Pissay is also developing into a world-class biker in a special programme for women in Chennai. She has the unique distinction of taking part in the grueling Dakar Rally too.

Young Shreya Lohia, a 10-year-old from Himachal,also announced her arrival by winning the FMSCI award in the Outstanding Women in Motorsports category.

Currently, there are a number of avenues for girls to learn the basics of the sport in various cities, thanks to the spurt of karting tracks. They can quickly graduate to the next levels too, with many former motorsports legends offering training courses for them.

These are indeed good times for women. And we dedicate ourselves to their empowerment on the occasion of Women's Day.

(A motor racing and technical expert, the writer is Head of JK Motorsports)

SANJAY SHARMA - HEAD OF JK MOTORSPORTS AND FORMER NATIONAL RALLYIST