Gill sizzles in Coimbatore heat
The APRC champion wins the first national rally of the year
AFTER MISSING OUT ON the national title for a couple of seasons in a row, Gaurav Gill (with co-driver Musa Sherif) has begun the 2017 INRC season on the best note by notching up the win in Coimbatore. Driving the Mahindra SuperXUV, Gill was the fastest man on all stages. Held near the windfarms on the outskirts of Coimbatore, the rally ran the traditional two stages for three loops.
The 2017 season also had a few rule changes regarding the classification of the vehicles with the four-wheel drive cars now running in the IRC class, which is a concurrently run cup and not a championship. The INRC will continue to exist as always with the formation of a step-up INRC 2 class which allows Group N cars to be modified to a limit. The INRC 2000 would now be called as the INRC 3 class.
It was all guns blazing from Gill this year as a transport stage mechanical failure rued his chances of a decent performance in 2016. Gill glided through the five stages with ease, completing the rally in an hour and 36.4 seconds. The 2016 INRC champion Karna Kadur (with co-driver Nikhil Pai) could not manage to keep pace with Gill in their Volkswagen Polo but nevertheless managed to come second overall, winning the INRC 2 class. Gill’s teammate Amittrajit Ghosh (with co-driver Ashwin Naik) were hampered with a mechanical failure on their SuperXUV, soldiering on to climb onto the final step of the podium.
As mentioned earlier, Kadur was the victor in the INRC 2 class with teammate Rahul Kanthraj (with co-driver Vivek Y Bhatt) coming home second in the Mitsubishi Cedia. Younus Ilyas (with co-driver Harish Kumar) brought their Cedia across the line in third in the category.
Dean Mascarenhas (with co-driver Shruptha Padival) managed to win the INRC 3 class in their Polo from the Polo of Daraius Shroff (with co-driver Nitin Jacob) and the Mitsubishi Cedia of Dhruva Chandrasekar (with co-driver Jeevarathinam).
In the battle of the old horses, the Honda City of Fabid Ahmer (with co-driver Arjun SSB) was crowned the winner of the FMSCI 2WD Cup, with Nithin Lukose (with co-driver Raghuram Swaminathan) driving the Maruti Esteem coming in second. Premnath Kasinath (with codriver Suraj M) claiming third in his City.
Rains have caused the organisers to postpone the second rally of the year in Chennai indefinitely. The next event is scheduled for Jaipur, followed by Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh. ⌧