Dean Mascarenhas wins South India Rally, Gaurav Gill finishes third

With India's most celebrated rallyist Gaurav Gill pushing to the maximum in almost every stage and Fabid Ahmer fighting as well, Dean Mascarenhas withstood the pressure to wear the crown.

Dean Mascarenhas of Team Champions during the South India Rally.   -  Special Arrangement

Overnight leader Dean Mascarenhas (co-driver Shruptha Padival) of Team Champions held his nerve to finish on top in the overall category of the 41st South India Rally, the first round of the Champions Yacht Club - FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship, here on Sunday.

With the big guns around, nobody gave Dean a chance to win this prestigious rally. But the 26-year-old from Mangaluru, who had issues with his car as well, knew he had the ability to beat the best in the business. And with JK Tyre backing him all the way, it further made his journey easy.

With India's most celebrated rallyist Gaurav Gill (Musa Sherif) pushing to the maximum in almost every stage and Fabid Ahmer (G. Sanath) fighting as well, Dean withstood the pressure to wear the crown.

"This is my first overall win and it took nine years to do that. I think I made JK Tyre proud of having sponsored me. I have done it today on my first full sponsorship. I am so thrilled," said Dean.

But the day began with Gill back in his groove. There were some big changes (suspension, chassis and dynamics) made to the car and the team also `found a tune' that suited the current day temperatures. That set the tone for the six-time champion to go for the kill on the final day.

He was the second fastest on the first stage (tarmac) and was the quickest by a big margin in the next (Aavisa). Unfortunately for him, there were some cows on the road and he had to stop. He hoped the stewards take a look and give the lost time back to him.

"It natural for things like this to happen in a rally," said some of the officials. But after some drama, Gill got 10s and that saw him climb back from the ninth (overnight) to a place on the podium. Rahul Kanthraj (Vivek Bhatt) missed out by just a second.

The results
INRC Overall: 1. Dean Mascarenhas & Shruptha Padival 1:45.10.8s; 2. Fabid Ahmer & G. Sanath 1:45:24.4; 3. Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif 1:45:27.6.
INRC: 1. Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif; 2) Phalguna URS & Srikanth Gowda 1:48:04.5.
INRC 2: Dean Mascarenhas & Shruptha Padival; 2. Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Bhatt 1:45:28.6; 3. M. Ritesh Guttedar & H.J. Lokaranjan1:53:13.3.
INRC 3: 1. Fabid Ahmer & G. Sanath; 2. Arjun Rao & Shanmuga Sundaram 1:46:40.2; 3. Daraius Shroff & Sheeraz Ahmed 1:47:40.7.
INRC 4: 1. Vaibhav Marate & Arjun SSB 1:53:02.1; 2. Rakshith Iyer & Chandrashekar 1:54:30.7; 3) Shirole Prakhyat & S.M. Bharath 1:59:19.7.
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