Gill set to clinch Rally of Maharashtra

June 26th, 2010 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Nashik, June 26 (IANS) Gaurav Gill of Team MRF Tyres was poised to clinch the title in the Rally of Maharashtra, the first round of the 2010 Speed-Indian National Rally Championship, as he extended his overnight lead over Vikram Mathias (Red Rooster Racing) to 2 minutes, 22.9 seconds at the end of the Leg 2 here Saturday.

The 29-year-old Delhi-based Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif), driving a Mitsubishi Cedia (Group N+), consolidated his position by being the quickest in two of the three stages that were run Saturday. The event concludes Sunday with the 2.25 Kms Spectator Special Stage.

Mathias (co-driver P.V.S. Murthy), also in a Cedia, drew some consolation, if any, as he was quicker than Gill by a second in the day’s second stage, but overall it was the MRF pilot’s show from start to finish.

Red Rooster’s Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driver Ashwin Naik) came in third, 18 seconds behind Mathias, to provide some cheer for the Bangalore team that narrowly lost the championship titles last year.

Despite the sizeable lead, Gill, the National champion, wouldn’t count his points. Last year, his Cedia packed up within 100 metres of the start of the Spectator Special Stage.

“It is not over until it is over. Don’t remind me of last year. I otherwise had a good outing today though I lost one second to Vikram in the second stage due to low tyre pressure. We rectified it and were the quickest again in the day’s final stage,” said Gill, who is scheduled to take part in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship round in New Zealand next weekend.

Also securing his top position was Girijashankar Joshy (co-driver Chandramouli M) of Team Ovion in the 2000cc Group N class that he continued to dominate as he stretched his lead over team-mate Sujay Suresh (co-driver Varun Satyanarayan), both in a Mitsubishi Cedia.

“I am still getting used to the Cedia which I found very stable and easy to handle. I didn’t want to push too hard as I was keen on understanding the car and its limits,” said Joshy, who felt he would improve as the season progresses.

Likewise, overnight leaders kept their positions in the other classes. Bangalore’s Rahul Kanthraj (co-driver Vivek Bhatt) topped the 1600cc class, enjoying a two-minute lead, while Dr Bikku Babu (co-driver George Verghese) headed 1400cc, Phalguna Urs (co-driver Anoop Kumar) from Mysore led the Rally Star Cup field and Amarinder Brar (co-driver Himanshu Pareek) maintained his supremacy in the Gypsy category.

Provisional classification (after Leg 2):

Overall/2000cc (Group N+): Gaurav Gill/Musa Sherif (MRF Tyres) 1 (1hr, 20mins, 51.7secs); Vikram Mathias/PVS Murthy (Red Rooster Racing) 2 (1:23:14.6); Amittrajit Ghosh/Ashwin Naik (Red Rooster Racing) 3 (1:24:33.1).

2000cc Group N: Girijashankar Joshy/Chandramouli M (Ovion Racing) 1 (1:27:43.4); Sujay Suresh/Varun Satyanarayan (Ovion Racing) 2 (1:30:00.2); Sirish Chandran/Nikhil Pai (Pvt) 3 (1:32:17.0).

1600cc: Rahul Kanthraj/Vivek Bhatt (Pvt) 1 (1:34:00.9); Shailendra Hegde/Sheraz Ahmed (Pvt) 2 (1:37:57.2).

1400cc: Dr Bikku Babu/George Verghese (Pvt) 1 (1:34:12.3); Byram Godrej/Anjay Kapadia (Pvt) 2 (1:34:33.4); Monish/Jeeva (Pvt) 3 (1:43:38.0).

Gypsy: Amarinder Brar/Himanshu Pareek (Pvt) 1 (1:34:52.9); Sachin Singh/Adhiraj Bardhan (Pvt) 2 (1:39:06.7); Shakti Bajaj/Dharmesh Sinha (Army) 3 (1:40:46.0).

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