Arka Motorsports’ Rahul Kanthraj (Vivek Bhatt), also an INRC 2 contender, made the most of his brilliant second-place run on Day 1 to rise to the second position in the overall category. INRC 3’sFabid Ahmer (Sanath G) took the third position, making it a disappointing outing for the heavyweights.
It began with hot favourite and six-time INRC winner Gaurav Gill, who could only manage the ninth position after struggling with his brand new XUV300. He put up a spirited fight in the latter half of the day, even winning the last stage to show that he was still in the hunt.
Gill, another JK man, managed one second-place and two fourth-place finishes to be 1:41.500 minutes off the leader. His Mahindra Adventure teammate Amittrajit Ghosh slipped into the lead in the INRC category, although he was sixth in the overall pecking order.
The South India Rally, Round 1 of the INRC powered by MRF, got off to a stunning start on Friday evening, with Team Champions’ Biku Babu (Milen George) winning the spectacular Triple S stage. He continued his big push in Day 2’s early stages but he dropped out in Stage 4 with a mechanical problem to miss out on a golden opportunity to make a mark.
Former INRC champion Karna Kadur took the second position and began Saturday on a positive note, claiming the day’s first stage. But he faded out as the day progressed to kiss his chances goodbye in this round.
Team Akshara’s Chetan Shivram (Dilip Sharan) won two stages but had to be content with the second position in INRC 3, although he is just one second behind the leader in this group: Team Champions’ Fabid Ahmer (Sanath G).
1) Dean Mascarenhas & Shruptha Padival – 54.48.800; 2) Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Bhatt – 54.58.100 min; Fabid Ahmer & Sanath G – 55:03.000 mins
1) Amittrajit Ghosh & Ashwin Naik – 55.26.100 mins; 2) Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif – 56:30.300 mins; 3) Phalguna URS & Srikanth Gowda – 56.54.700 mins
1) Dean Mascarenhas & Shruptha Padival – 54.48.800; 2) Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Bhatt – 54.58.100 min; 3) Younus Ilyas & Harish Gowda – 55:18.300 mins
1) Fabid Ahmer & Sanath G – 55:03.000 mins;2) Chetan Shivram & Dilip Sharan – 55:04.300 min; 3) Sahil Khanna & Rajit Kadian – 57.15.700 mins