Chikkamagaluru, 3 Dec 2016: German champion Fabian Kreim (co-driver Frank Christian) of Team MRF set early pace by topping the time charts in the Super Special Stage ahead of team-mate Gaurav Gill (Glenn Macneall) as the Coffee Day India Rally got off to a thrilling start here today.
The Coffee Day Rally, which is also the concluding round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, and organized by the Motorsports Club of Chikkamagalur, promises more exciting fare over the next two days when the 16 Special Stages will be run in the nearby estates of the Coffee Day Global as Kreim, running second in the championship will be seeking to hold off Gill who has already sealed the title with five wins in a row.
Ranged behind the two MRF Skoda Fabia R5 cars was Cusco Racing’s Yuya Sumiyama (Takahiro Yasui), in the Subaru Impreza WRX STi while team-mates Michael Young (Malcolm Read) and Sanjay Takale (Noriko Takeshita) completed the APRC standings.
Kreim clocked two minutes, 17.8 seconds for the 2.12 Kms sprint that was watched by close to 10,000 spectators at the Amber Valley school grounds who braved persistent drizzle, while Gill had 02:18.5, well clear of Sumiyama (02:23.4).
In the MRF FMSCI Indian Rally Championship that is being run concurrently, Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik) took a slender lead over leader Arjun Rao Aroor (Satish Rajagopal) in the Overall category while young Dean Mascarenhas (Shanmuga SN) topped the INRC 2000 class and Vikram Gowda (Uday Kumar KV) led the FMSCI Cup category. Sanjay Takale, who is also taking part in the IRC class, was the fastest in this category.
The timings in the Super Special Stage are at best indicators of the pace of the cars, but the real battle begins on the morrow with rains providing a serious twist to the proceedings as Gill, who was the fastest in this morning’s Shakedown run, pointed out.
“The Rally Stages are quite tight and twisty with about a 1000 corners requiring a 1000 gear shifts. The co-driver has to be spot on with his calls since one corner flows into the next. So, I will be driving totally on his calls.
“I expect it to be slow going, basically first and second gear run which will put a lot of strain on the engine and the brakes will get quite heated too. So, it could boil down to reliability of the car. The rains could also give it another twist with conditions turning slippery,” said Gill.
Looking ahead to the Rally, Kreim said: “It’s another new experience for me. The conditions are going to be very challenging with the narrow roads and as Gaurav said, with a 1000 corners. But I hope to do well as the car is set up nicely for the terrain,” said Kreim who made his APRC debut this season.
Gill warmed up this morning by setting the fastest time during the Shakedown that was run in mild drizzle by clocking one minute, 28.3 seconds over the 1.6 Kms long circuit.
The results (provisional, Leg-1, Section-1):
APRC: 1. Fabian Kreim / Frank Christian (Team MRF) (02 mins, 17.8secs); 2.Gaurav Gill / Glenn Mcneall (Team MRF) (02:18.5); 3.Yuya Sumiyama / Takahiro Yasui (Cusco Racing) (02:23.4).
INRC Overall: 1.Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Mahindra Adventure) 02:37.9; 2. Arjun Rao / Satish Rajagopal (02:38.9); 3.Sunny Sidhu / Musa Sheriff (Mahindra Adventure) (02:40.0).
INRC 2000: 1.Dean Mascarenhas / Shanmuga SN (02:40.8); 2.Karna Kadur / Nikhil Pai (Yokohama 2K) (02:42.6); 3.Rahul Kanthraj / Vivek Bhatt (Yokohama 2K) (02:42.7).
FMSCI Cup: 1.Vikram Gowda / Uday Kumar KV (02:49.5); 2.Michu Ganapathy SC / Venu Ramesh Kumar (02:52.8); 3.Fabid Ahmer / Arjun Dheerendra (02:55.6).
IRC: 1. Sanjay Takale / Noriko Takeshita (02:28.0); 2. Younus Illyas / Nitin Jacob (02:42.8); 3. Ritesh Guttedar / Sheeraz Ahmed (02:45.4).
Gypsy Star (non-championship): 1.Sanjay Agarwal / Smitha N (02:59.6); 2.Avin Nanjappa / Suraj Setti (03:09.5); 3.Dheeraj KV / Ravi (03:15.7).