Reigning national champion Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driver Ashwin Naik), driving a Mitsubishi Cedia (Group N), scrambled into lead after front-running Arjun Rao (Satish Rajagopal) in a Volkswagen Polo had to reliquish his lead following a broken drive shaft on the opening day of AVT Premium South India Rally in Chennai
The inaugural round of the FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship 2013 saw Gaurav Gill (Musa Sherif) of team Mahindra Adventure in a Mahindra XUV 500, emerge fastest with a blistering one hour, 13 minutes, 22.2 seconds, against Ghosh’s 01:16:00.7.
The VW Polo also made its rally debut with Sirish Chandran (Nikhil Pai) leading in the 1600cc class, ahead of Byram Godrej (Prjajwal Pai), driving a Maruti Baleno, in second place with Rao in third after docking road penalty of two minutes, 20 seconds for late check-out from service at the end of the day.
In fact, it was Rao who set the pace throughout the day and was running first ovegoing into the day’s seventh and final stage. However, close to the finish, the Polo suffered a broken drive shaft with Rao completing the stage with his co-driver Rajagopal pushing the car over the time control line.
Ghosh had mechanical problems to deal with right through the day. “I had a few issues with my car that was costing me a lot of time and I just wanted to finish the day,” he said.
Placed second behind Ghosh in overall standings was Bangalore’s Vikram Devadasen (Shrikanth Gowda) who put in a sensible drive in his Mitsubishi Cedia, but has some 23.6 seconds to make up on Sunday if he hopes to win the rally.
While Gill was at his fluent best to dominate the day’s proceedings by being the fastest in all the seven Stages, Delhi’s Samir Thapar (Vivek Ponnusamy) of Team JCT Rallying, the lone entry in the Indian Rally Championship (IRC) category driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, was second quickest with a time of 01:15:56.0, despite incurring a penalty of one minute, 10 seconds.
Of the 37 vehicles which started the event, five cars dropped out mostly due to mechanical problems.
Provisional Unofficial classification:
South India Rally, Round 1 of 2013 INRCZ
Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Mitsubishi Cedia) (1hr, 16mins, 0.7secs)
Vikram Devadasen / Shrikanth Gowda (Mitsubishi Cedia) (01:16:24.3)
Dr Bikku Babu / George Verghese (Mitsubishi Cedia) (01:16:33.1).
INRC 2000cc (Group N):
Ghosh / Naik (01:16:00.7)
Devadasen / Gowda (01:16:24.3)
Dr Babu / Verghese (01:18:06.5).
Sirish Chandran / Nikhil Pai (Volkswagen Polo) (01:17:33.4);
Byram Godrej / Prajwal Pai (Maruti Baleno) (01:18:06.5)
Arjun Rao / Satish Rajagopal (Volkswagen Polo) (01:18:31.1);
Suhem MK / Jeevarathinam J (Baleno) (01:18:48.0)
Asad Khan Zayne Asrar (Maruti Esteem) (01:19:01.1)
Phillip Thomas / Milen George Cherian (Maruti SX4) (01:21:20.8).
Gaurav Gill / Musa Sherif (Mahindra Adventure, XUV 500) (01:13:22.2)
Sunny Sidhu / Srinivasa Murthy PV (Mahindra Adventure, XUV 500) (01:16:25.9)
Lohitt Urs / Bonnie Thomas (Mahindra Adventure, XUV 500) (01:17:54.4).
Samir Thapar / Vivek Ponnusamy (JCT Rally) (01:15:56.0).