THERE ARE ENOUGH reasons why Coimbatore is called the home of Indian motorsport. It gave the country among its first race tracks in the form of the Kari Motor Speedway, and is home to a large number of race and rally teams. It has always hosted some of the best rallies in the country, and round two of the 2014 IRC hosted by the Coimbatore Auto Sports Club was no exception.
With as many as 36 entries, the Rally of Coimbatore promised a lot more action that the 20-odd entries in the first round. What rally fans were looking forward to was the duel between the two Mahindra Adventure drivers, Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) and Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik), in the monstrous Super XUV500.
The blue Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI of PG Abhilash (Kumar Ramaswamy) was another attention grabber, while IRC 1600 was where the action was. With a dozen Volkswagen Polos in the class, it was clear how much favour the German hatch is finding with rallyists, after its successful debut at the hands of Slideways Industries drivers last year.
The stages were the same as 2013 – two gravel stages, run twice each on day 1, and once on day 2, apart from the SSS at the racetrack. Unfortunately for Ghosh, his XUV500's turbocharger packed up in SS1, ending his challenge though he did start on day 2 for leg points. With his nemesis out, Gill was blazing through the stages, and had no trouble bringing it home yet again.
The IRC 2000 class was won by Team Yokohama's Rahul Kantharaj (Vivek Bhatt) followed by Slideways Industries' Byram Godrej (Somayya AG) and Prithvi Dominic (Ravindra MS). Privateer Arjun Rao Aroor clinched a win in the IRC 1600 class, apart from finishing second overall. Finishing second in the IRC 1600 was Vikram Devadasen (Shrikanth) followed by Phalguna Urs (Anoop Kumar) in third. Raghu Nandan (Suraj K) secured the top slot in the FMSCI 1600 Cup, followed by Adith KC (Harish KN) and Aniruddha Rangnekar (Nitin Jacob) in second and third places respectively.
As expected, Gill scored another victory at the Rally of Coimbatore
Top: With arch rival and team-mate Ghosh not in contention, Gill had no trouble winning his second consecutive rally this season. Above: Privateer Arjun Rao Aroor stormed to the top of a crowded IRC 1600 class, also finishing second overall