Coimbatore, July 24 (IANS) Amittrajit Ghosh and co-driver Ashwin Naik led a 1-2 finish for the Mahindra Adventure team in the MRF Rally of Coimbatore, the first round of the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship here on Sunday.
Finishing second behind Ghosh and Naik, who scored their third win in this event, were team-mates Sunny Sidhu and co-driver P.V. Srinivas Murthy with young Dean Mascarenhas from Mangaluru (Shanmugha SN) third in the INRC Overall class.
Mascarenhas also topped the time charts in the INRC 2000 class after nursing his Volkswagen Polo to the finish ahead of Bopaiah K.M. (Karumbaiah G) and Team Yokohama India’s Karna Kadur (Nikhil Pai).
The FMSCI Cup class honours went to K.J. Jacob (co-driver Manoj Mohanan) with Tarun Reddy (co-driver Lalit Kishore) finishing second while Veeresh Prasad (co-driver Suraj M) completed the podium.
In the Indian Rally Championship (IRC) class, JCT Rallying’s Samir Thapar (co-driver Gurinder Singh Mann) emerged winners and also were the fastest overall in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. Finishing second in the class was Abhilash P.G. (co-driver Srikanth Gowda) in the Evo VIII and Mohammed Khasim (co-driver Sanath G) was third in the Mitsubishi Cedia.
One of the biggest disappointments of the one-day Rally was the retirement of favourite Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) of Team Mahindra Adventure in the day’s very first Special Stage due to a mechanical problem as the brand new knuckle that was fixed on Thursday, sheared off. Gill was permitted to rejoin the Rally, but could not score any points.
Speaking on his victory, Ghosh said: “We had a few problems with our car throughout the day, but happy that we managed to bring the car back safely. In the third and last loop, I had gearbox problem and ran both the Stages in third gear, not wanting to take any chances.”
INRC Overall: Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Mahindra Adventure, XUV 500) 1 (One hour, three minutes, 15.1 secs); Sunny Sidhu / PV Srinivas Murthy (Mahindra Adventure, XUV 500) 2 (01:03:59.3); Dean Mascarenhas / Shanmugha SN (Pvt) 3 (VW Polo, 01:04:23.3).
INRC 2000: Dean Mascarenhas / Shanmugha SN (Pvt) 1 (VW Polo, 01:04:23.3); Bopaiah KM / Karumbaiah G (Pvt) 2 (VW Polo, 01:04.47.5); Karna Kadur / Nikhil Pai (Team Yokohama-India) 3 (VW Polo, 01:05:03).
FMSCI Cup: KJ Jacob / Manoj Mohanan (Pvt) 1 (Honda City, 01:08:41.1); Tarun Reddy / Lalit Kishore (Pvt) 2 (Honda City, 01:11.44.7); Veeresh Prasad / Suraj M (Pvt) 3 (Honda City, 01:13.13.5).
IRC: Samir Thapar / Gurinder Singh Mann (JCT Rallying) 1 (Evo X, 01:01.03.6); Abhilash PG / Srikanth Gowda (Pvt) 2 (Evo VIII, 01:01.42.3); Mohammed Khasim / Sanath G (Pvt) 3 (01:09.32.9).