Gaurav Gill wins Round 1 of Indian National Rally Championship

Last Updated 17 December 2020, 14:43 IST

Ace Indian rally driver Gaurav Gill began the Champions Yacht Club-FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship 2020 in style, winning the Rally of Arunachal, here on Thursday.

Gill, driving for JK Tyre, took a total of 56:55.200 minutes to complete eight special stages and record a victory by a margin of an impressive 4:25.700 minutes over Karna Kadur. Dean Mascarenhas finished third overall with a time of 1:02:30.500 hour.

The three-time APRC champion was in his ominous best and even a flat tyre on final stage could not stop him from underlining his supremacy in the opening round.

Gill along with co-driver Musa Sherif got off to a thrilling start and after opening up a considerable lead on the opening day, which witnessed four thrilling night stages, it was all about driving safe and bringing his XUV300 home.

However, that did not stop him from going full throttle and he drove like a man possessed to win three on day four to increase his lead further.

On the final stage, he had a flat tyre just two kilometres away from the flying start but still managed to finish, which was enough for him to draw the first blood.

"It was a great start to the season. The stages were really fast and I enjoyed driving here. The car has been fantastic and there is absolutely nothing I could complain about," Gill said.

"We made some adjustments to the car from last year and it has worked wonders. And all I could say is, me behind the wheels of a car like this on tarmac is just the perfect combination."

Karna Kadur on MRF Tyres overcame initial hiccups, which involved a tailspin on ss2, to make his way to the podium.

Karna, driving a Volkswagen Polo and who won the final stage of the round, clocked a total time of 1 hour: 01 min:2.9 seconds.

Karna and his navigator Nikhil V Pai, who ended the opening day in second place, showed great grit to stave off a fierce challenge from Dean and co-driver Shruptha Padival, who finished third.

Defending champion Team Yokohama's Chetan Shivram's title defence took a great hit as he crashed out of the round in the first stage due to engine failure.

The round 2 of the race will be held here on December 19.

(Published 17 December 2020, 14:18 IST)

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