Bengaluru, Nov 23: India's top rally driver Gaurav Gill and co-driver Musa Sherif sensationally made almost a minute over Mahindra Adventure teammate and overnight leader Sunny Sidhu (co-driver PVS Murthy) to clinch the coveted overall title in the 40th edition of the Mahindra Adventure presents IMG K-1000 Rally, the penultimate round of the 2014 FMSCI-Indian Rally Championship, on the outskirts of Tumakuru on Sunday.
Gill and Sherif, driving a Mahindra XUV 500, had assured themselves of their fourth National Overall title at the conclusion of Saturday's first leg after taking an unassailable lead in the championship points tally, but were trailing Sidhu by 2.2 seconds, which he made up in style and ran up a 59.6-second lead to secure his fourth overall K-1000 crown.
"It was a good battle with my team-mates and to have my name as the winner of the 40th K-1000 feels great," said Gill after Mahindra Adventure swept the top three places in the Indian Rally Championship, with Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik) finishing third in a Mahindra XUV 500.
"We were prepared for it and the car was perfect, thanks to the team, mechanics and Red Rooster Racing. The new MRF SUV tyres we used were good. Everything fell into place and I am happy that Mahindra got the top three podium places," added Delhi-based Gill, the 2013 Asia-Pacific Rally champion.
"We are looking forward to the last round in Chikkamagaluru. We want the team to do well there also," said Gill, referring to the sixth and final round to be held mid-December.
Karna-Sujith duo wins IRC 2,000 class
The Bengaluru duo of Karna Kadur (BS Sujith Kumar), in a Mitsubishi Cedia, won the IRC 2,000 class in the K-1000, edging city-mates Rahul Kanthraj and Vivek Bhatt of Team Yokohama, also in a Mitsubishi Cedia. Kanthraj (Bhatt) have sealed the IRC 2,000 National championship after taking an unassailable lead on points.
Mysuru's Phalguna Urs and co-driver Bengaluru's Anoop Kumar, in a VW Polo, won the IRC 1,600 class of K-1000 to take the championship lead going into the final round, while Adith KC (Harish KN) in a Honda City Vtec clinched the FMSCI 1600 class in the K-1000 to virtually assure themselves of the National championship in this class.
On the final day that saw one stage interrupted owing to a car breakdown in the middle of the second stage, Kadur (Sujith Kumar) finished fourth in the K-1000 Overall, Urs-Anoop Kumar a commendable fifth and followed by Kanthraj (Bhatt).
Results (after leg two, unaudited and provisional)