Five-time winner Gaurav Gill cruised to a comfortable lead after day one in the Rally of Coimbatore, the second round of the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship here today.
The Team Mahindra Adventure star, along with his co-driver Musa Sherif, won both the special stages of the day with his aggressive style and needed just 37:21.2 (18:48.3 and 18:32.9) to run through the two stages to set himself up for another victory.
His teammate, Amittrajit Ghosh, was snapping at his heels though, taking only 37:42.8 to finish the day on a high.
Ghosh, who has recently won the European Rally Championship round in Greece (ERC 3 class), seemed a lot more confident as he tackled the dust with great speed and control in his XUV 500.
The final four stages of the rally will be held tomorrow in Ketanur, about 70 Kms from here.
FMSCI president Akbar Ebrahim, rallying after nearly 25 years, was in 21st place after the first day.
Former INRC champion Karna Kadur (with Nikhil V Pai) was trailing in the third place, after taking 38:18.5 for his two stages.
That was, however, good enough for the Arka Motorsports' spearhead to hold on to his INRC 2 advantage, with Bopiah KM and Phalghuna Urs over 30 seconds behind him.
Aroor Vikram Rao (with Somayya AG; Falkon Motorsports) continued to lead INRC 3 category with a timing of 38:41.8.
Defending champion Dean Mascarenhas, however, suffered a setback as he failed to finish second stage due to a mechanical snag. He was replaced by Suhem Kabeer in the second position on the leaderboard as Fabid Ahmer (third after Round 1) too slipped to the fourth place.
Results (after SS2): INRC: 1. Gaurav Gill and Musa Sherif (Team Mahindra Adventure; 37:21.2), 2. Amittrajit Ghosh and Ashwin Naik (Team Mahindra Adventure; 37:42.8), 3. Karna Kadur and Nikhil V Pai (Arka Motorsports; 38:18.5).
INRC 2: 1. Karna Kadur and Nikhil V Pai, 2. Bopiah KM and Karumbaiah G (Team Champions; 38:58.2), 3. Phalghuna Urs and Srikanth Gowda (Snap Racing; 39:00.1).
INRC 3: 1) Aroor Vikram Rao and Somayya AG (Falkon Motorsports; 38:41.8), 2. Suhem Kabeer and Jeevarathinam (Team Champions; 38:50.9), 3. Chetan Shivram and Rupesh Koley (Team Chetan Shivram; 39.00.1).
FMSCI 2WD: 1. Adith KC and Suraj K, 2. Suraj Thomas and Sob George, 3. Vikram Gowda and Sudhindra BG.
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