Bhubaneswar: With a facile win at the Rally of Odisha, Delhi driver Gaurav Gill along with celebrated co-driver Musa Sherif of Kasargod, representing Team MRF, won the Speed Indian National Rally Championship 2011 with a round to spare, taking an unbeatable 72-point lead over the nearest rival Amittrajit Ghosh and (Aswin Naik).
For the 30-year speed maestro, who is arguably the fastest rally driver in the country, the victory at the maiden National rally event in Orissa helped him achieve the third national title. Gill won the INRC title in 2007 and 2009. Making the right calls and ably supporting the speed of Gill is his navigator, Musa Sherif, who is a top navigator in the country with more than 207 rallies to his credit.
Aniruddha Rangnekar, too won the driver’s national title here with a round to spare, in the 1600 cc class.
Jointly organised by Kalinga Motor Sports Club and Bengal Motor Sports Club, the Rally of Odisha, the sixth of the seven-round Speed Indian National Rally Championship held under the aegis of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) and promoted by IMG Sports and Pro-Sports Promotion (PSP) concluded here today. Rally de Bengal will be held at Durgapur next Sunday.
With an eye on the national title, Guarav Gill drove his Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia mixing caution with aggression but never let the pedal off the gas, clocking the fastest times in all the three special stages held on Sunday. He increased the lead over the nearest driver to 6 minutes 18 seconds clocking 11 minutes 18 second in SS-5, 11.08 in SS-6 and 11.19 in SS-7, the last special stage of the rally. He touched speeds of 160 kmph in SS-6 over a distance of 14.18 kms for an average speed of 76.30 kmph for that stage. Gill now has 172 points in the championship table while Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driver Ashwin Naik) by virtue of their overall third place (23 points) here taking second in the table standings with 100 points. However, with Lohit Urs (co-driver Srinivasa Moorthy PV), who retired in this rally with an engine failure on Saturday, having 77 points, the last rally of the calendar will witness a fight only for the second overall position in the national championship.
In the 2000 N class, Karna Kadur (co-driver Somonnita Ghosh) took the lead in the National title over Rahul Kantharaj (Vivek Bhatt) despite his second place finish here and the battle is expected to continue I Kolkota. Yogeshwar Gill of US, with TN’s Jeevarathinam as navigator, won the 2000N class here and also finished overall second ahead of Ghosh and Ashwin.
Pune driver Aniruddha Rangnekar’s second place here was enough to clinch the National Driver’s championship in the 1600 cc class with a round spare as he took an unbeatable lead over his nearest rival Balram CG, who skipped this rally. Aniruddha and co-driver Anoop Kumar of Bangalore finished second here clocking 1 min 26.26.1 while Hanoosh Surapneni and co-driver Ravindra Kumar won this rally with a handsome lead to beat the champions at 1 min 24: 47.4 seconds. Ajgar Ali and Debashis finished third.
Talented Mangalore teenager, who made a stunning debut winning the K-1000 rally in Bangalore early this year, made the motorsport pundits to stand up and take notice. He suffered a loss in the next rally in Chikmaglur but came back with a bang to win the 1400 cc class in the Rally of Odisha. He was blocked by a slow car yesterday and got minus (-) 42-second penalty from the stewards but proved his worth by winning with over a 50-second margin. Vikram Rao Aroor (AG Somayya) finished second while championship leader Karan AM along with Shanmugha SM was content with a third place.
Rafeeq Ur Rehman (co-driver Ajith KP) won the rally in the Gypsy class pushing the husband-wife duo Sachin Singh/ Shree Latha to second place and veteran Sanjay Agarwal/ Ramesh Kumar Venu came third.