Tumakuru (Karnataka), 21 Jan 2018: King of Indian Motorsports, Gaurav Gill of Mahindra Adventure annexed his fifth National title winning the premier class of the MRF Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) 2017 at the MRF 43rd K-1000 Rally, the sixth and final round of the INRC here, about 100 km from Bengaluru, on Sunday. The two-day National Championship round was organised by Karnataka Motor Sports Club (KMSC) under the aegis of Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (fmsci) and is promoted by Ramakrishna Race Performance Management (RRPM) of Kolkata. Incidentally this is also the fifth K1000 title for both Gill and Sherif.
The Chennai round of the INRC was canceled due to inclement weather and the Rally of Arunachal was postponed thereby pushing the K1000 round and the championship in 2018.
The New Delhi based, Gill, a three-time APRC champion underlined his class and control once again, winning all the five Special Stages recording an overall timing of 00:55:41.6 minutes, a 2 minute-45 second lead ahead of second finisher Arjun Rao Aroor, to take his final tally to a perfect 100 points.
Gill, along with co-driver Musa Sherif (110 points), has been unbeaten in the MRF INRC 2017, romping home in each of the four rounds that they had taken part in. He missed Round 4, the Rally of Chikmagalur, as it coincided with his assault on the APRC title, but that didn’t stop him from being crowned the undisputed king in the domestic arena. “It was a perfect day, a perfect finish for us,” Gill said, shortly after his coronation once again. “The first couple of stages were slippery but we managed to handle them well; we controlled the rally thereafter,” he added talking about the controlled aggression he displayed to conquer the fast and speedy terrain which was also tricky due to the pebbles, ditches, and grass. N Leelakrishnan with seven National titles and Naren Kumar with six are the only other drivers who have won INRC more times.
INRC 3 champion Dean Mascarenhas, despite rolling into a ditch in the first run of the Alpha Special Stage and falling behind by over 27 minutes, managed to take the second place in the overall standings by 16 minutes.
Dean (and Shruptha Padival), who entered the sixth and final round with a slim outside chance of upsetting Gill, picked up a puncture in SS2 too but hung on to keep pace with the rest of the field in the remaining stages. But the initial meltdown meant that he finished 8th (3rd in this category) and could add only 4 points to his final tally. It didn’t affect him in this category though, as he had already sealed the INRC 3 trophy in the last round itself.
Defending INRC champion Karna Kadur, however, took advantage of Dean’s bad luck and familiar home conditions to force his way to the third position in the K-1000. It ensured him two podium finishes too, the second place in his INRC 2 category and the third place in the overall Championship.
Arjun Rao finally showed his true class, taking the second place in the rally but he had to be content with a sixth-place finish in the Championship thanks to DNFs in three rounds.
As expected, Rahul Kanthraj and co-driver Vivek Bhat claimed the INRC 2 trophy, despite finishing third (fourth overall) in this category.
The only one who could have upstaged him, Younus Ilyas, pulled out during SS4 to fade out of his Championship battle with Rahul. He eventually had to settle for the third place, with Karna jumping a place to take the second position.
The FMSCI 2WD Cup was taken by Chetan Shivram and Rupesh Kholay, as they posted one more victory here.
Defending K-1000 champion Amittrajit Ghosh, who was hovering in the 3rd to 5th position all the way, crashed at the finish, in the sixth and final stage to take the overall fifth place. His car got completely smashed but he and his co-driver, Ashwin Naik, got away with minor injuries. Ghosh was stuck between the seat and the steering wheel and had to be extricated after an hour or so. He escaped with minor bruises and knees pains. The full medical report is awaited.
INRC Ranking for the National title: INRC Drivers: 1. Gaurav Gill (100 points) & Musa Sherif (110); 2. Dean Mascarenhas (67) & Shruptha Padival (69); 3. Karna Kadur (58) & Nikhil Vittal Pai (58).
INRC 2 Drivers: 1. Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Y Bhatt (97) 2. Karna Kadur & Nikhil Vittal Pai (75); 3. Younus Ilyas & Harish K.N. (58)
INRC 3 Drivers: 1. Dean Mascarenhas (115) & Shruptha Padival (118); 2. Saddam Ali Sheikh (54) ; 3. Daraius N Shroff (51).
INRC 3 co-drivers: 1. Shruptha Padival (118); 2. Nitin Jacob (54) and 3. Mrinmoy Saha (53)
FMSCI 2WD Cup Drivers: 1. Chetan Shivram (75); 2. Fabid Ahmer (61); 3. Suraj Thomas (48).
FMSCI 2WD Cup Co-Drivers: 1. Rupesh Koley (75); 2. Suraj M (66) and 3. Thomas Paul (33).
K-1000 Provisional Unaudited Results: INRC: 1. Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif (00:48:14.1); 2. Arjuna Rao & Satish Rajagopal (00:50:18.2); 3. Karna Kadur & Nikhil Pai (00:51:10.3)
INRC 2: Karna Kadur & Nikhil V Pai (00:51:10.3); 2. G.B. Girijashankar Joshy & Chandramouli M (00:52:03.6); 3. Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Y Bhatt (00:52:54.2)
INRC 3: 1. Vikram Rao Aroor & Somayya (00:52:55.2); 2. Saddam Ali Saikh & Abhijeet Singh (00:56:22.8); 3. Chandan M Gowda & Vinay P.M. (01:03:43.5)
FMSCI 2WD Cup: 1. Chetan Shivram & Rupesh Koley (00:55:19.2); 2. Fabid Ahmer & Sanath G (00:55:35.8); 3. Asad Khan & Gautam C.P. (00:56:08.8).
eom/posted by David Bodapati