Mathias tops time sheets on first day of Mysore rally

June 14th, 2008 - 12:12 am ICT by IANS  

Mysore, June 13 (IANS) Vikram Mathias of Red Rooster Racing team came up with a spectacular drive in his Mitsubishi Cedia (N+) to top the time sheets in the Spectator Special Stage on the first day of Sidvin-Motorports Association of India (MAI) Rally of Mysore, the first round of the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) here Friday. Mathias (co-driver P.V. Srinivas Murthy), powering the Cedia through the tight and twisty 2.1 km track, clocked two minutes, 33 seconds at the Lalit Mahal Palace grounds here and, in the process, held the huge turnout in spellbound.

Eight seconds behind the leader was local hero Lohit.V. Urs (co-driver Chandramouli) in a Maruti Baleno (N+) who had barely three days to prepare the car after deciding to enter the event as a privateer after his team, MRF, decided against participation.

Meanwhile, three drivers - Girijashankar Joshy (Baleno) of Team Wind Speed, Chetan Shivram (Baleno) of Team Ideal and Amittrajit Ghosh (Cedia, N+) of Red Rooster - tied for the third spot, all clocking 2:46.

Further adrift were Sanket Shanbhag (Baleno) of Team Wind Speed with 2:51 and Arjun Surya (Baleno) with 2:53.

It was Mathias who undoubtedly was the star of the afternoon. Though he enjoyed an obvious advantage of a modified vehicle, he showcased his driving talent that had won him the championship in 2004. He attacked the corners and had the power through the straight to virtually destroy the opposition.

The big disappointment was his team-mate, the 20-year old Amittrajit Ghosh who was making a huge leap from 1400cc to 2000cc after signing up with Red Rooster. His Cedia appeared rather underpowered and not surprisingly so, considering that his team barely had enough time to paint the vehicle in team colours, much less prepare it for the event.

As well as Mathias drove, Urs was less spectacular but super smooth in his Baleno that was no match for the Cedia. In fact, the locals toasted every minute of his drive that underlined his aggressive yet controlled style.

The only sour note of the afternoon was the absence of spectator control as many stood dangerously close to the track risking their lives and limbs.

There was a particularly dangerous moment with Sanjay Agarwal, driving a Gypsy, put two wheels on the bund skirting a left-hander, missing the spectators by mere inches.

Only during the closing stages did the organizers post a marshal to hold the crowd back.

The scene will shift to the Special Stages Saturday and the rally will conclude on Sunday afternoon.

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