Karna Kadur and his co-driver Nikhil Vittal Pai of Arka Motorsports walked away with their third consecutive win at the Coffee Day India Rally, in the fourth round of the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC). The rally was held in Chikmagalur and the coffee estates nearby. The duo, in their rally prepped Volkswagen Polo cruised to victory in the third and final day of the rally, after taking the lead on the second day. The three day event, organised by the Motor Sports Club of Chikmagalur concluded yesterday.
On winning their third Coffee Day India rally, Karna Kadur said, “The result did not surprise us considering the lead that we had overnight. So, there was no need to push today and I was intent on bringing the car back home safely. We backed off a bit, used the advantage we had and finished the three Stages safely. We are very happy that we won for the third time in a row here in Chikmagalur.”
Even though Amittrajit Ghosh was not in the best of his heath, he and his co-driver Ashwin Naik of Mahindra Adventure finished second overall followed by Bopaiah KM (Gagan Karumbaiah) of Team Champions. It was difficult for Ghosh to drive his XUV500 as he caught ‘shell fish allergy’ on the flight from London earlier this week.
On finishing second overall, Ghosh said, “In the context of the championship, it is always good to have points in the bag. So, now, whoever among the three of us (Kadur and Gill being the others) wins in Kerala will emerge champion.”
Ghosh and Kadur also topped the INRC-1 and INRC-2 categories, respectively, while Delhi’s Arjun Bani Rao (Milen George) won in the INRC-3 class.
The special stages of the second day were tough as 11 competitors retired due to crashes and mechanical problems. The last stage of second day was cancelled after Aroor Vikram Rao crashed and his car blocked the track. Gaurav Gill (Musa Sherif) from Mahindra Adventure, took the fifth place overall as they suffered mechanical issues on day 2. Their rally prepped XUV500 suffered a broken lower arm and the ball joint completely sheared off and he was forced to stop in SS6. Due to this, the duo didn’t complete the last two stages of the second day. However, Gill rejoined the next day under the Super Rally format to score more points. In INRC-1 class, Gill and Sheriff came second overall. Privateers Younus Illyas (Harish KN) finished fourth overall. Gill earned 10 points in this round.
Gaurav Gill won the first two rounds that were held in Chennai and Coimbatore. On the his performance in the fourth round of INRC, Gill said, “We had a good run the past couple of seasons, but things go up and down. It was not the best of weekends here or in Arunachal. So, now, we will go to Kerala next month and hope to win there. Today, I gave it all I had and drove 110 per cent. It is good that the championship has gone down to the wire. It is good for the sport.”
Amittrajit Ghosh still leads the championship with 79 points. 12 points behind him is Karna Kadur and Gaurav Gill is third overall with 60 points. The fifth and final round will decide the championship winner, which will be held in Kerala next month.
Here are the provisional results:
Overall: 1. Karna Kadur / Nikhil Pai (Arka Motorsports) (02hrs,19mins,59.9secs); 2. Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Mahindra Adventure) (02:22:15.3); 3. Bopaiah KM / Gagan Karumbaiah (Team Champions) (02:22:18.8).
INRC-1: Ghosh / Naik; 2. Gaurav Gill / Musa Sherif (Mahindra Adventure) (02:23:49.2); 3. Michu Ganapathy / Venu Rameshkumar (Team Champions) (02:27:18.1).
INRC-2: 1. Kadur / Pai; 2. Bopaiah / Karumbaiah; 3. Younus Ilyas / Harish KN (Pvt) (02:22:34.7).
INRC-3: 1. Arjun Bani Rao / Milen George (Chettinad Sporting) (02:24:29.4); 2. Fabid Ahmer / Shahid Salman (Chettinad Sporting) (02:26:34.7); 3. Aroor Vikram Rao / Somayya (Team Falkon) (02:27:57.4).
FMSCI 2WD Cup: 1. Vikram Gowda / Sudheendra BG (Team Champions) (02:31:51.6); 2. Prakhyat Shirole / Bharath SM (Pvt) (02:32:53.0); 3. Manoj Mohanan / Sob George (02:35:32.7).
FMSCI 4WD Cup: 1. Sanjay Agarwal / Smitha Prasad (Team Champions) (02:31:20.0); 2. Sachin Murthy / Satyapal (02:35:00.5); 3. Avin Nanjappa / Suraj M (Pvt) (02:39:26.5)