Gaurav Gill of Team Mahindra Adventure has combined a smooth driving style with controlled aggression to take a sizeable lead during Leg 1 of the Coffee Day India Rally in Chikkamagaluru.
While 34-year old Delhi-based Gill eased his way through the highly challenging and technical Special Stages to top the time charts clocking one hour, 58 minutes, 18.9 seconds, young Dean Mascarenhas from Mangaluru was positively sparkling in the Volkswagen Polo to finish second overall in the FMSCI Indian Rally Championship.
Lohitt Urs, who is participating in the FIA Asia Cup that is being run concurrently and is also in contention in the IRC category, carved his way to overall third place after starting the day from 13th position.
Urs, driving the all-wheel drive Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, also led the Asia Cup field quite comfortably. In fact, of the eight starters in the Asia Cup, only four were still running as Arjun Rao Aroor, younger brother Phalguna Urs, PG Abhilash and Garima Avatar retired, bringing the day’s total of dropouts to 11 of the 40 entrants.
Even as Gill consolidated his position, the battle of the day was between Mascarenhas and Karna Kadur of Team Yokohama as the duo went neck-and-neck for positions in the IRC 1600 class. In the process, the two young guns pushed their respective VW Polo cars to the limit, providing plenty of thrilling moments for the spectators.
Equally impressive was veteran Rahul Kanthraj of Team Yokohama who consolidated his lead in the IRC 2000 class while finishing the day over a minute ahead of Sumit Panjabi.
In the FMSCI Cup 1600 class, Druva Chandrashekar took a nearly two-minute lead over his nearest rival Raghunandan B and looked set to clinch the title.
The three-day event, supported by Karnataka Toursim and Indian Oil, concludes on Sunday.
Provisional classifications (after Leg-1):
FIA Asia Cup:
1. Lohitt Urs / Shrikant Gowda, Evo VIII, 1hr, 59mins, 41.2secs
2. Satyan Kochar / Amit Waghchoure, VW Polo, 02:16:14
3. Bani Yadav / Sukhbans Mann, Cedia, 02:21:36.1
1. Gaurav Gill / Musa Sherif, XUV 500, 1hr, 58mins, 18.9 secs
2. Dean Mascarenhas / Shanmuga SN, VW Polo, 1:59:31.1
3. Lohitt Urs / Srikanth Gowda, Evo VIII, 1:59: 41.2
1. Rahul Kanthraj / Vivek Bhatt, Team Yokohama, Cedia, 2:03:38.4
2. Sumit Panjabi / Shahid Salman, Cedia, 2:05:05.5
3. Karan AM / Suraj M, VW Polo, 2:07:18.7
1. Dean Mascarenhas / Shanmuga SN, VW Polo, 1:59:31.1
2. Karna Kadur / Vivek Ponnusamy, VW Polo, 1:59:47.7
3. Bopaiah KM / Karumbaiah KS, VW Polo, 2:02:05.9
FMSCI Cup 1600:
1. Druva Chandrasekhar / Jeevarathinam J, Honda City V-tec, 2:03:02.7
2. Raghunandan B / Rupesh Kholay, Honda City V-tec, 2:05:03.2
3. Adith KC / Harish KN, Honda City V-tec, 2:05:12.1
Source: Event Release