Ghosh conquers Arunachal
Mahindra’s Amittrajit Ghosh reigns supreme in INRC’s Rally of Arunachal
AFTER A HIATUS OF THREE months, the 2018 season of the Indian National Rally Championship made its way to the eastern most state of Arunachal Pradesh for the third round organised by The Motorsports Club of Arunachal. For the next two days the hills around Itanagar were going to witness some spectacular high speed action. The stage was set for the championship contenders to prove their mettle on the fast stages set around the state capital to bag some valuable points in the first tarmac rally of the 2018 season.
The rally began with the ceremonial flag off held at DK convention centre, Itanagar. In a first, the flag off also witnessed the launch of the Arunachal tourist police who extended their support for the event.
Day 1: At the onset, a special waiver for the stages had to be sought from the FMSCI to increase the average speed limit of the stages from 110kmph to 120kmph, which in WRC is 130kmph. Coming into the first stage, Team Mahindra’s Gaurav Gill along with co-driver Musa Sheriff took the early lead and almost broke the average speed limit by clocking a stage time of 7 minutes and 19 seconds on the Chimpu stage.
Holongi, which is the second stage of the rally, is 14.5km long. The stage saw some major differences in times with competitors encountering rain and subsequently backing off to finish the stage considering all of them were running tarmac slicks. A hurried and frantic service period saw most of the service teams engaging in cutting grooves into the tire tread to find grip during the downpour.
The remaining two stages of the day saw Gill and Musa steadily extending their lead with teammates Amittrajit Ghosh along with co-driver Ashwin Naik fighting their way back up the leaderboard. Aroor Rao with co-driver A G Somayya who were driving a Falkon Motorsports prepped VW Polo in the INRC3 category were unable to complete their stint on the opening day.
Day 2: On the second day, the weather report created ruckus among the teams. Overnight leader Team Mahindra’s Gill led the charge on the first stage of the day with the local band of fans cheering him on. However, the competitors were in for some nasty surprises, the very next stage saw INRC3 category leader Suhem Kabeer get into a high speed crash trying to defend his 5 second lead over Dean Maschrenas. The penultimate stage witnessed Gill pulling out of the rally only 2km before the finish. His XUV had suffered a drive shaft issue, giving teammate Amittrajit the advantage. The INRC2 category saw a close battle between Rahul Kanthraj of Arka Motorsports and Bopiah Kongetira of Team Champions who were fighting for third with only a second between them. ⌧