The 2018 Rally of Arunachal, Round 3 of this year’s MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC), concluded with Team Mahindra Adventure’s Amittrajit Ghosh and co-driver Ashwin Naik taking top honours. However, it was a bittersweet rally for Mahindra Adventure as its second driver, Gaurav Gill, along with his co-driver, Musa Sherif, suffered a retirement.
Gill moved into the lead at the end of the first day, after winning three out of four stages. Meanwhile, Ghosh struggled with power issues in Stage 1, which dropped him down to ninth place. But he managed to recover time in the next few rounds to end the first day in third place.
Ghosh ultimately capitalised on Gill having to pull out from the rally the next day after his car broke down on Stage 6. He tackled the day’s three stages cautiously – finishing second in SS5, third in SS6 and again second in SS7 for a cumulative timing of 57min 33.6sec. This put him 5.9sec clear of INRC 2’s Phalguna Urs and Srikanth. Driving for Snap Racing, Urs and Srikanth were tailing Gill all through the first day, but had a lacklustre second day and had to settle for second place overall. However, this was good enough to hand the duo victory in the INRC 2 class.
“We started the Rally of Arunachal on an ominous note, taking the ninth place due to a technical issue. But I and Ashwin kept pushing until we managed to bounce back,” said Ghosh.
“We drove steadily to win the title, which became easier after Gaurav pulled out with a mechanical failure. We are now looking forward to the next two rounds, even though we know that Gaurav will be back in his elements and will put up a tough fight,” he added.
The INRC 3 class saw its fair share of action, with early leader Suhem Kabeer, along with co-driver Jeevarathinam, crashing out on the second day. This allowed his team-mate and defending champion Dean Mascarenhas and co-driver Shruptha Padival to win the class and finish third overall.
1. Amittrajit Ghosh | Ashwin Naik (Team Mahindra Adventure; 00:57:33.6)
2. Phalguna Urs | Srikanth (Snap Racing; 00:57:39.5)
3. Dean Mascarenhas | Shruptha Padival (Team Champions; 00:57:57.7)
1. Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Team Mahindra Adventure; 00:57:33.6)
2. Lokesh Gowda / Venu Ramesh Kumar (Team Champions; 01:07:20.8)
1. Phalguna Urs / Srikanth (Snap Racing; 00:57:39.5)
2. Karna Kadur / PVS Murthy (Arka Motorsports; 00:58:37.0)
3. Rahul Kanthraj / Vivek Y Bhatt (Arka Motorsports; 00:58:55.2)
1. Dean Mascarenhas / Shruptha Padival (Team Champions; 00:57:57.7)
2. Aroor Vikram Rao / Somayya AG (Falkon Motorsports; 01:05:17.0)
3. Phurpa Tsering / Chow Tiktha (Phurpa Tsering; 01:14:57.9)