Updated: Aug 11
The Arjuna Awardee tames his own speed to halt the run of DNFs
The pair of Gaurav Gill and Musa Sherif, supported by JK Tyre, won the Rally of Coimbatore, the round 2 of the Blueband Sports FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) for 4-wheelers, supported by MRF, that concluded at Coimbatore on July 31.
The Post-event Scrutiny changed the winners table in INRC2, INRC3 and JINRC categories as the two-day rally was run across the L&T By-pass road on Day 1 and at the Windmill farms at Kethanur on Day 2.
It was a long-pending win for Gaurav Gill. With three DNF's from the past four rallies, he had to come out of this dilemma, and he did so in style. He changed the tuner a few days before this rally and it worked out well. This victory shall be a morale booster as he headed straight for the upcoming weekend rally at Finland.
In this event, Gill was a completely-different driver. He adopted a different driving pattern as the track demanded. Gill, usually known as the man of action, disappointed most of his fans who were waiting to watch his speed and action on track. His new strategy of taking a huge lead of over 93 seconds on Day 1 on the smooth track and not overdoing or burdening the machine on Day 2, on the rough track gave him this win. But no matter what, for a few of his fans, it was a celebration time on his win.
The pair of Gaurav Gill and Musa Sherif, supported by JK Tyre, had not disclosed their strategy which took one and all by surprise as the lead pair softened their aggression on a couple of occasions. Gill managed to dominate Day 1 with a lead of over 1min 31sec.
On Day 2, the rough stages kept everyone at bay from even nearing to dislodge him from the top position. On the second day, he was monitoring as his lead decreased by about nine seconds in Stage 1 and 11sec in Stage 2. But he never had to do anything apart from nursing his car back to the finish. With two more stages left for the day then, and with over a minute lead, the pair kept their cool and successfully won with a huge overall lead.
The only option left for the championship leaders Karna Kadur and co-driver Nikhil Pai from Arka Motorsports, who were supported by MRF, was to reduce the victory margin. The Bengaluru duo, did manage to reduce the lead to 28 seconds but had to be content with a second-place finish.
The Kerala pair of Younus Ilyas and Milen George, also supported by MRF, were lucky enough to be on the podium after disqualification of the two drivers ahead of him, Arjun Rao Aroor and Chetan Shivram.
Jahaan Gill was also part of the disqualified squad, thus giving the JK Tyre supported driver duo, Syed Salman Ahmed and co-driver BK Rishabh, a chance to get elevated to fourth place.
Philippos Matthai and Kumar Ramasamy from Arka Motorsports with a further difference of 3 seconds finished in fifth position. The pair of Suhem Kabeer and Jeeva Rathinam, supported by JK Tyre, finished sixth. Chandan KM from Bengaluru and localite Venu Ramesh Kumar finished seventh ahead of Kuber Sharma and Kunal Kashyap, who were supported by JK Tyre.
The three who were disqualified as their cars did not comply with technical regulations during post-event scrutiny were Arjun Rao and Satish Rajgopal from Team Mandovi, supported by MRF. They lost their third position. The two Bengaluru brothers Chetan Shivram and Dilip Sharan, supported by Yokohama, lost their fourth position and the 19-year old Jahaan Singh Gill and Suraj Keshava, supported by JK Tyre, lost their sixth position.
Dean driving an R spec Baleno for the first time had to pass through difficult times on Day 2 with a broken exhaust manifold which was unable to get the pace during Day 2. He managed to finish the rally but had crossed the MPL.
Suhem Kabeer and Jeeva Rathinam, supported by JK Tyre, clocked a total time of 1:53.23 to win the class. They were followed by Ritesh Guttedar along with Lokaranjan HJ in second place who had a difference of 3min10sec. Aroor Vikram Rao and Somayya completed the podium with a further difference of 3seconds. Vikram had lost a lot of time on Day 2, as he had a rally car stalled on the route, which consumed lot of time to by pass it.
Fabid Ahmer and Sanath G, supported by JK Tyre, faced mechanical issues with the car and pulled out on Day 1 as their drive shaft flange was cut. Till then they were fastest in the class and were running overall third. They rejoined their Day 2 journey with a 10-min penalty and were the fastest and managed to finish fourth.
After the front left wheel bolts sheared off in Stage 2, they had to pull out for the day, the pair of Rahul Kanthraj and Vivek K Bhatt finished in fifth position after they rejoined with a 10-min penalty on Day 2. Girish Nair and Suraj Sethi pulled out on Day 1. The pair of Harkishan Wadia and Amber Udasi toppled their vehicle in Stage 2 and did not start on Day 2. The winning pair on the track, Chetan Shivram and Dilip Sharan, supported by Yokohama, were disqualified and lost their top position.
The JK Tyre supported pair of Syed Salman Ahmed and BK Rishabh were the winners of the class with a total time of 1:53.17. Philippos Matthai and Kumar Ramasamy finished second. After starting Day 2 with a 24-second deficit, they managed to gain 21 seconds and finished with a 3-sec difference.
Chandan KM and Venu Ramesh Kumar had a cracked windscreen in second stage as the bonnet opened and crashed against it. After fixing it, they finished Day 1 with 29-sec difference to the previous finisher. Their Day-2 start was after replacing the windscreen and they finished in third position.
Kuber Sharma and Kunal Kashyap, supported by JK Tyre, missed the podium with a 5-sec difference and settled for fourth position. Jason Saldanha and Thimmu Uddapanda finished fifth. In the second season of rallying Jahaan Singh Gill after winning the class on track, was disqualified in post-rally scrutiny.
Deepak Chandra along with Mahesh Nandi were the winners of the class with a total time of 2:03.16. Ninu Mohan and Goutham CP stood second with a difference of 29minutes. Only two cars took part in this class.
Arnav Singh Pratap and Arjun SSB with a total time of 1:52.22 were the winners followed by the all-ladies team of Pragathi Gowda and Trisha Alonkar supported by MRF with a difference of 40sec. The Doctor pair of mother and daughter, Shivani Pruthvi and Deepti Pruthvi, supported by JK Tyre, lost time in the first stage on Day 2 as their car was stuck on a soil mount. Despite the loss of time the doctors finished third with a difference of 5min 16sec to their previous drivers.
Ajay Sankar, in his debut rally, and Rohit Gowda finished fourth. The 19-year old Jahaan Gill with over 2min 12sec lead topped the class before he was disqualified in the post-event Scrutiny.
Defending Champions Samrat Yadav and Chandrashekar once again carried forward their dominance with a total time of 1:58.23 they managed to stay on top, with a difference of over 8min the pair of Sanjay Razdan and Karan Aukta finished in second position, the pair of Dheeraj and Pramod Raman with further 1min difference completed the podium. Darshan Nachappa along with Vinay Kumar PM finished in fourth position while Sanjay Lal and V Sekar finished in fifth position. Dr. Akarsh Sundar and Dr. Dinesh S ended up in sixth position.
“I always love to be right up there but it’s okay as I know the situation and condition that we are in. There’s no point risking it as we have had a terrible last few rallies. I don’t want to go back into that scenario for myself and the team because there’s so much of hard work that has gone into it,” said Gill. “It’s a new team and together we are all working on the car for the first time. It’s not easy at all but, fortunately, I have got the right set of technical experts with the same mindset,” he added.