Gill, Vicky Chandhok finish on podium in INRC

Gaurav Gill along with Musa Sherif as co-driver, bettered his own previous day’s performance by 27 seconds for an aggregate timing of 1 hour and 28:43.1 minutes to complete the total distance.

Gaurav Gill and co-driver Musa Sherif celebrate their win in the Indian National Rally Championship on Sunday.   -  Special Arrangement

Defending champion Gaurav Gill won the opening round of the MRF-FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC), winning the 40th South India Rally in style at the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) at Irungattukottai near here on Sunday.

Gill was once again at his aggressive best as he conquered all five stages of Day two to convert his first day’s advantage into a comfortable victory.

The Team Mahindra Adventure driver, along with Musa Sherif as co-driver, bettered his own previous day’s performance by 27 seconds for an aggregate timing of 1 hour and 28:43.1 minutes to complete the total distance.

Gill’s teammate Amittrajit Ghosh made up time in a dramatic fashion to finish second. With Ashwin Naik as co-driver, he went all out in the final three stages to jump from the third position to the second for a spectacular finish.

Gill was expectedly pleased with his victory. “We had a great day and hats off to the team who have put the car together,” he said, just after completing his victory. “It is a brand new car and there were a few issues at the start but we overcame them and had a great weekend. It is a great start to the season and I am glad with the win,” he added.

Vicky Chandhok, who made a comeback to competitive rallying after 18 years, finished third in the INRC-1 category and eighth overall. Chandhok was piloting the Volkswagen Polo R2 along with co-driver Chandramouli from Bengaluru.

Read: Vicky Chandhok's gritty return to the rally

Speaking about his experience in his comeback rally and a podium finish, Chandhok said, “I am truly delighted with the results. The hard work put by the Volkswagen Motorsport team, my navigator and myself has definitely paid-off.

“The absolutely testing weather conditions were not making things easy for Chandramouli and me. However, the brilliantly put together rally-car and our strong determination saw us take the podium today,” he added.

Vicky Chandhok and co-driver Chandramouli after the INRC.   -  Special Arrangement


Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India said, “It has been a brilliant opening rally weekend of 2018. There was a lot of learning for the teams and the drivers. Our Polo R2 ran superbly through the 10 stages finishing on the podium eventually. I would like to congratulate Vicky and Chandramouli on their brilliant drive and team work, they have done a fantastic job in these unforgiving weather conditions.”

There were, in all, 10 stages covering a total distance of 102.2km. Stages 1 and 6, the Super Special Stages (SSS), was run on the 3.1km tarmac surface of MMRT. Competitors also moved to the AAVISA golf course section measuring 13.85km, where stages 2 and 4 ran in the forward direction, while stages 7 and 9 ran in the reverse direction. The third part of the rally, for stages 3, 5, 8 and 10 were at the MMRT track on a mix of gravel and tarmac measuring 10.15km, with the latter two being run in reverse direction.

INRC 2 category was won by Karna Kadur while second place was taken by Rahul Kantharaj, both driving Volkswagen Polo rally cars. INRC 3 was won by Vikram Aroor followed by Dean Mascarenhas, the champion of the INRC 3 category in 2017.

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