July 30, 2017
Two-time APRC champion Gaurav Gill began his MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship 2017 on a dominant note, winning Round 1 with consummate ease here today.
The 35-year-old rallyist form Delhi and co-driver Musa Sherif, who were fourth off the blocks, stormed into the lead in the first stage itself.
Gill tackled the gravel road with all its twists and turns in his typical aggressive way to round it up in just 12 minutes and 11 seconds, a full 21 seconds ahead of the 24-car field.
Driving for Team Mahindra in an XUV 500, Gill showed his class and gumption in the remaining four stages too, sweeping each of them in style and kept increasing his lead by a minimum of 20 seconds in each stage to finish the 70-odd kms in one hour and thirty-six seconds, almost in a canter.
Defending champion Karna Kadur and Nikhil Pai (Red Rooster Performance) from Bengaluru finished one minute forty-five seconds behind to take the second position while Amittrajit Ghosh and Ashwin Naik (Team Mahindra Adventure) were further adrift by 28 second to grab the last place on the podium.
Karna showed immense speed in his Polo but just couldn’t match Gill’s pyrotechnics however, stayed ahead of the pack in the INRC 2 category.
Rahul Kanthraj and Vivek Bhatt who finished overall fifth took the second position, cruising into the park fermé just 3 seconds later.
Dean Mascarenhas and Shruptha Padival claimed the Round 1 honours in INRC 3, finishing fifth in the INRC pecking order.
One of the leading pairs, Arjun Rao and Satish Rajgopal, pulled out in the first couple of stages itself, joining six other teams on the DNF list.
Aroor Vikram and Somayya AG, in fact, had a bad crash and their car burnt down in the opening stage itself; luckily, both the driver and the co-driver escaped without a scratch on their persons.
INRC: 1. Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif (Team Mahindra Adventure); 2. Karna Kadur & Nikhil Pai (Red Rooster Performance); 3. Amittrajit Ghosh & Ashwin Naik (Team Mahindra Adventure)
INRC 2: 1. Karna Kadur & Nikhil Pai (Red Rooster Performance); 2. Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Bhatt (Red Rooster Performance); 3. Younus Ilyas & Harish Kumar
INRC 3: 1. Dean Mascarenhas and Shruptha Padival; 2. Dr Biku Babu & Milen George; 3. KM Bopaiah & G Karumbaisah.