Vikram Mathias takes lead in INRC Rally

October 18th, 2008 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Coimbatore, Oct 18 (IANS) Vikram Mathias of Team Red Rooster Racing took an unassailable lead of over three minutes in the overall standings at the end of the first day of the IMG Mill and Monsoon Rally, the fifth round of the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC), here Saturday.On a day when eight of the 36 starters retired, driving a N+ (modified) Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia, Mathias (co-driver PVS Murthy), returned a timing of 49 minutes, 35 seconds way ahead of second placed Girijashankar Joshy (Team Winspeed) in a 1600cc Maruti Baleno.

Mathias, driving rather conservatively, now has the luxury of a pleasant Sunday drive as his team-mate Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driver Ashwin Naik), also in a Cedia, retired with gearbox problems after Special Stage-3.

In all, four Special Stages were run on the day with four more to be completed Sunday.

“I drove very conservatively and didn’t want to take any risks. Tomorrow, I will take it easy as I have a comfortable lead. My aim was to go for points even if it meant that I had to drop my pace a bit,” said Mathias who is currently heading the championship table with 31 points as against Ghosh’s 22.

Meanwhile, championship leader in the 1,600cc class, Sanket Shanbhag along with his father and co-driver Ramesh, suffered a setback as his Baleno slammed into a tree and the engine stalled in SS-2. He lost about two minutes before he restarted the car and completed the stage.

However, he lost more time in SS-4 with a puncture and ended the day over three minutes behind Joshy who enjoyed a near-flawless outing.

The organizers heaved a sigh of relief as the rains stayed away and proceedings were gone through without any hiccup.

Provisional (unaudited) Leg-1 results:

Overall: Vikram Mathias/PVS Murthy (Red Rooster Racing, N+ Cedia) 1 (49mins, 35secs); Girijashankar Joshy/Prajwal Pai (Team Winspeed, Baleno) 2 (53:12); Shailendra Hegde/Sheraz Ahmed (RSC Esteem) 3 (55:15).

1600cc: Joshy/Pai 1 (53:12); Sanket Shanbhag/Ramesh Shanbhag (Team Winspeed) 2 (56:15); Biju Anthony/S George 3 (56:29).

1400cc: S Sujay/SM Bharath 1 (56:17); JM Manju/Jeevarathinam 2 (56:32); Sourabh Choudhuri/Uday Kumar 3 (56:34).

Rally Star Cup (Esteem): Hegde/Ahmed 1 (55:15); Vikram Devadasan/Raymond D’Souza 2 (56:02); Byram Godrej/George Varhese 3 (56:08).

Gypsy: Sandeep Sharma/Rashid Raza 1 (56:25); J Arvind/Pramond Raman 2 (56:58); Sanjay Agarwal/Elias Paarel 3 (57:13.

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