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. ⌧

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