Dean, Gaurav start as favourites

Aayush Majumdar
Saturday, 10 August 2019

Gill and Sherif spearhead Mahindra Adventure’s campaign, and will be looking to make amends for missing out on the top podium place in the opening round.

COIMBATORE: Team Champions’ Dean Mascarenhas from Mangalore will aim to consolidate his lead at the top of the leader-board, as the Rally of Coimbatore, Round 2 of the Champions Yacht Club FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship 2019, kicks off here on Saturday. 

Mascarenhas held off late resurgence from his JK Tyre teammate Gaurav Gill, a six-time INRC champion, in the opening round in Chennai, as he and co-driver Shruptha Padival won the South India rally ahead of INRC 3’s Fabid Ahmer (co-driver Sanath.G) of Team Champions, who showed great skill and composure to take second place, with Gill and his co-driver Musa Sherif in third. 

The INRC 2 driver Mascarenhas will need to be at his best as he tackles a 65-strong field along with wet and tricky conditions out here. 

Gill and Sherif spearhead Mahindra Adventure’s campaign, and will be looking to make amends for missing out on the top podium place in the opening round. They used all their experience to stage a late comeback in Chennai, but a herd of cows obstructed their path at one point, costing Gill a few seconds. 

He was awarded 10 seconds by the stewards for the delay, that helped him finish in third position.

He comes into this round on the back of a thrilling win in the Dakshin Dare and will come out all guns blazing for his seventh INRC title.

Arka Motorsport’s Rahul Kanthraj (along with Vivek Bhatt) is just a second off Gill in the overall standings and will also be a driver to look out for. He is currently second in the INRC 2 category. He missed out on a podium finish by just a second in the South India rally. 

Team Champions’ Arjun Rao (along with navigator Shanmuga Sundaram) will be another top driver who will look to maintain his good run in the championship. He is second in the INRC 3 category and will be keen to topple teammate Fabid from the top spot.

The Rally of Coimbatore has attracted a record number of 65 teams, with Team Champions fielding as many as 25 teams, a record of sorts in the INRC. 

The rally will span over two days covering a total distance of 141.09 kms, with 119.70 kms earmarked for eight special stages.

The flag-off ceremony was called off here on Friday, due to consistent rain, and the conditions are expected to be challenging through the weekend as well.

THE IMPORTANT FACTS
- Arka Motorsport’s Rahul Kanthraj (along with Vivek Bhatt) is just a second off Gill in the overall standings and will also be a driver to look out for. 
- He is currently second in the INRC 2 category. He missed out on a podium finish by just a second in the South India rally. 
- The Rally of Coimbatore has attracted a record number of 65 teams.

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