Karna Kadur (left) and co-driver Nikhil Pai celebrating their win in the Asia Cup and the 44th South India Rally
Karna Kadur (left) and co-driver Nikhil Pai celebrating their win in the Asia Cup and the 44th South India Rally MRF Racing

Karna Kadur wins round 1 of Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, Gaurav Gill second

Karna Kadur and Nikhil Pai emerged victorious in the 44th South India Rally, while the 2021 INRC championship was decided

The 44th South India Rally has ended with Bengaluru boys Karna Kadur and co-driver Nikhil Pai of Arka Motorsports emerging winners, driving an MRF Tyres VW Polo R5. Gaurav Gill and co-driver Musa Sherif rebounded from a mechanical failure the previous day to finish second in a stunning display.

The 44th edition of the South India Rally played host to a number of championships. It was the first round of the relaunched FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, as well as the final round of the FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship, in which Himachal boys Aditya Thakur and co-driver Virender Kashyap of Chettinad Motorsports emerged victorious. However, their victory is still provisional subject to an appeal in the Indian Motor Sports Appeal Court.

Karna Kadur in action at the 44th South India Rally
Karna Kadur in action at the 44th South India Rally MRF Racin

Karna Kadur, Gaurav Gill and Amittrajit Ghosh are the main protagonists vying for the Asia cup of the APRC. Kadur now leads the championship ahead of Gill, while Amittrajit Ghosh retired with a mechanical failure.

Speaking about his victory, Karna Kadur said, “This is my first win since 2018 and I am very happy to break a jinx. Also, this is my first win in Chennai and the APRC victory also, and I cannot ask for anything better. As always, there is last-minute drama today with lower-arm bush popping out, but we were lucky to finish. We have learnt a lot in the last two rallies (both DNFs).”

Gaurav Gill was downbeat after having the pace to win the rally, saying, “It was the same in Coimbatore where we had a DNF (Did Not Finish) and in K-1000 that we won. Here too we were the quickest, but a mechanical issue cut short our rally yesterday. However, on the restart, we had a good run today. Overall, I am quite happy with our performance,” said Gill, who plans to compete in APRC’s Japan and Australia legs this season.”

The final classifications of the rally were:

FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (Asia Cup, India round): 1. Karna Kadur / Nikhil Pai (India) (01hr,50mins, 04.500secs); 2. Gaurav Gill / Musa Sherif (India) (02:07:17.000)

Overall / INRC: 1. Karna Kadur / Nikhil Pai (both Bengaluru, Arka Motorsports) (01:50:04.500); 2. Dean Mascarenhas (Mangaluru) / Gagan Karumbaiah (Kodagu) (01:51:08.900); 3. Aditya Thakur / Virender Kashyap (both Himachal, Chettinad Sporting) (01:52:16.100). National Overall champion (Provisional, subject to the outcome of an appeal pending before the Indian Motor Sports Appeal Court): Aditya Thakur (Himachal, Chettinad Sporting).

The opening round of the APRC, and the high level of competition that we saw, proves that we are in for a very interesting season to come with the Asia Cup particularly competitive. The next round of the APRC will be the Rally of Otago in New Zealand on 8 April. Stay tuned to evo India to follow all the action!

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