Bengaluru, January 21: Mahindra Adventure's Gaurav Gill annexed his fifth MRF-FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship trophy, speeding away to a grand victory in the MRF 43rd K-1000 Rally here on Sunday (January 21).
The three-time APRC champion underlined his class and control once again, winning all the five Special Stages without having to look too much into his rearview mirror. He recorded an overall timing of 00:55:41.6 minutes, almost three minutes ahead of the second finisher, to take his final tally to a perfect 100 points.
Gill, along with co-driver Musa Sherif (110 points), has been unbeaten in the MRF INRC 2017, romping home in each of the four rounds that he had taken part in. He missed Round 4, the Rally of Chikmagalur, as it coincided with his assault on the APRC, but that didn't stop him from being crowned the undisputed king.
"It was a perfect day, a perfect finish for us," Gill said, shortly after his coronation once again. "The first couple of stages were slippery but we managed to handle them well; we controlled the rally thereafter," he added.
#CenturyClub President SP Rakshit flags off @Gillracing at the ceremonial start of the #MRF 43rd K-1000 Rally, Round 6 of the MRF #FMSCI #INRC 2017. #MahindraAdventure #CARTAir #Isuzu #ArunachalTourism #York #Arya pic.twitter.com/QDX4v2SqvV— RRPM (@RRPM_Kolkata) January 20, 2018
INRC 3 champion Dean Mascarenhas, despite rolling into a ditch in the first Super Stage and falling behind by over 16 minutes, managed to take the second place in the overall standings.
Dean (and Shruptha Padival), who entered the sixth and final round with a slim outside chance of upsetting Gill, picked up a puncture in SS2 too but hung on to keep pace with the rest of the field in the remaining stages. But the initial meltdown meant that he finished 8th (3rd in his category) and could add only 4 points to his final tally.
It didn't affect him in his category though, as he had already sealed the INRC 3 trophy in the last round itself.
Defending INRC champion Karna Kadur, however, took advantage of his bad luck and familiar home conditions to force his way to the third position in the K-1000. It ensured him two podium finishes too, the second place in his INRC 2 category and the third place in the overall Championship.
Arjun Rao finally showed his true class, taking the second place in the rally but he had to be content with a sixth-place finish in the Championship thanks to DNFS in three rounds.
As expected, Rahul Kanthraj claimed the INRC 2 trophy, despite finishing third (fourth overall) in his category.
The only one who could have upstaged him, Younus Ilyas, pulled out during SS4 to fade out of his Championship battle with Rahul. He eventually had to settle for the third place, with Karna jumping a place to take the second position.
The FMSCI 2WD Cup was taken by Chetan Shivram and Rupesh Kholay, as they posted one more victory here.
Defending K-1000 champion Amittrajit Ghosh, who was hovering in the 3rd to 5th position all the way, crashed in the sixth and final stage to take the fifth place overall. His car got completely smashed but he and his co-driver, Ashwin Naik, got away with minor injuries.
MRF FMSCI INRC 2017 Championship (Final tally)
INRC Drivers: 1. Gaurav Gill (100 points) & Musa Sherif (110); 2. Dean Mascarenhas (67) & Shruptha Padival (69); 3. Karna Kadur (58) & Nikhil Vittal Pai (58).
INRC 2 Drivers: 1. Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Y Bhatt (97) 2. Karna Kadur & Nikhil Vittal Pai (75); 3. Younus Ilyas & Harish K.N. (58)
INRC 3 Drivers: 1. Dean Mascarenhas (115) & Shruptha Padival (118); 2. Saddam Ali Sheikh (54) ; 3. Daraius N Shroff (51)
**Co-drivers Nitin Jacob (54) and Mrinmoy Saha (53) took the second and third places in this category.
FMSCI 2WD Cup: 1. Chetan Shivram & Rupesh Koley (75); 2. Fabid Ahmer & Sanath G (61); 3. Suraj Thomas (48)
**Co-drivers Suraj M (66) and Thomas Paul 33 took the second and third places.
MRF K-1000 Results
INRC: 1. Gaurav Gill (00:48:14.1); 2. Arjuna Rao & Satish Rajagopal (00:50:18.2); 3. Karna Kadur (00:51:10.3)
INRC 2: Karna Kadur (00:51:10.3); 2. G.B. Girijashankar Joshy & Chandramouli M (00:52:03.6); 3. Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Y Bhatt (00:52:54.2)
INRC 3: 1. Vikram Rao Aroor & Somayya (00:52:55.2); 2. Saddam Ali Saikh & Abhijeet Singh (00:56:22.8); 3. Chandan M Gowda & Vinay P.M. (01:03:43.5)
FMSCI 2WD Cup: 1. Chetan Shivram & Rupesh Koley (00:55:19.2); 2. Fabid Ahmer & Sanath G (00:55:35.8); 3. Asad Khan & Gautam C.P. (00:56:08.8)
Source: Press release