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Samuel Jacob wins season opener

Samuel Jacob stamped his season's first victory in the MRF Rally of Nashik, round one of the MRF Indian National Rally Championship promoted by Godspeed held in the outskirts of Nashik. The 12.5 km long tarmac stage which was suppose to run four times was cut short to thrice due to time constraints.  Over 83 participants were in fray.


Samuel Jacob began his 2024 season opener with a bang as he dominated the MRF Rally of Nashik from the first stage with a eleven second lead over his team mate Rajendra RE from TVS Racing, Rajendra did try in the two further stages to cut down the lead but it was only possible by 2sec, as the final stage was cancelled due to time constraints. With a difference of 8sec Samuel was the winner as Rajendra finished in second position, defending champion Tanveer was consistently clocking the third fastest timing and finished in the same order. It was a top four finish for TVS Racing, while the fifth and sixth position was bagged by Team Hero MotoSports. Imran Pasha with a difference of 32 sec had to settle for fourth. Arun T with further 27sec difference was fifth and his teammate Yuva Kumar finished behind him in sixth with a further 11sec difference. With a difference of 8 sec privateer from Bengaluru Nataraj R was seventh and Sachin D finished in eighth position with a difference of 3sec as he lost time in the final stage.   

Pro Expert Group A:

Developing a huge lead in the very first stage was an biggest asset for Samuel Jacob, which indeed was very tough to be challenged by his fellow competitors. His team mate Rajendra a former National champion just returned to rallying after his wrist surgery after skipping a few rounds in the previous season lost time in his first stage but did try to cut down the lead and was not successful with 8sec difference settled for second position. Similar wise was the case of Defending Champion Abdul Wahid Tanveer who lost time in the very first stage and was unable to catch up with about 20sec difference completed the podium. Since this class had only riders from TVS Racing, the lone lady competing in this class was the former multiple ladies class champion Aishwarya Pissay finishing fourth.  

Super Bike Expert Group A:

Nataraj R this class defending champion supported by VM Sports foundation topped the class with a total time of 26min 53.905sec, he also lost time in Stage1, as he over shot in one of the corner and was quick enough to get back on the track, sixth gear was essential due to long stretches and his bike being an endurance bike had only 5 gears and he is a dirt rider and similar performance on a tarmac can never be expected, privateer from Bengaluru Amogh Nag had a shaky start in the first stage due to stray cattle, was slow and got back in action in the remaining two stages and finished second with a difference of 50sec. A seasoned rider Asad Khan from Chikkamagaluru finished third with a further difference of 8sec. After participating in one round Sinan Francis was out of rallying the previous season, he made a comeback to finish fourth with 15sec difference. Tabish Rizvi finished fifth.

Super Sport 165 GroupB:

Abdul Rehaman with over a second difference managed to clinch the class, he managed to Keep Bharath L in second who had lost over 7sec in first stage and managed to reduce the difference to less than two seconds, as the final stage was cancelled he had to settle for second, Arshad Ali AT with a further 10sec deficit managed to be on the podium in third position. Yogesh P with a 10sec Liaison penalties finished fourth with 16sec difference, Varun Kumara A finished fifth with 9sec difference. 

Super Sport 260 GroupB:

Imran Pasha from TVS Racing apart from winning the class missed the overall podium, Arun T from Hero MotoSport finished second with 27sec difference, while his teammate Yuva Kumar with 10sec difference was third. Sachin D by going off the road in stage1 had lost time but did managed to do well in stage2 and climb up the order, stage3 didn't go his way, trying to avoid a stray dog he had a fall and recovered thus managed to finish the rally in fourth position, Banteilang Jyrwa with less than a second difference settled for fifth position. Sabarish R finished sixth. 

Super Sport 400 Group B:

Rajesh Narajan Swami was the winner of the class with a total time of 28min 03.988sec, Racer Anish Shetty showed his presence in rallying as well with a difference of 52sec he finished second. Akhand Pratap Singh with 34sec difference finished third. Venu Ramesh Kumar V from Coimbatore finished fourth with 55sec difference, Madhurjya Jyoti Rabha with 25sec further difference finished fifth.

Super Sport 550 Group B:

It was a win with 44sec difference for Suhail Ahmed from Bengaluru over another Bengalurian Naresh VS who finished second, Darshan Chaure finished third with 1min 12sec difference. Sharath Kumar S also from Bengaluru was having issues with carburettor and suspension hence lost   missed the podium with 42sec deficit and settled for fourth position, Kaustubh Manohar Lohar finished fifth with further 1min 42sec difference which included 10 Liaison penalties. 

Scooter class upto 210 Group B:

Defending champion Syed Asif Ali from TVS Racing began the season with a win with a huge margin of 2min 12sec over privateer Venkatesh Shetty, Goutham N finished third with 15sec difference.

Women's class Group B:

Satara girl Tanika Shanbhag from Hero MotoSports was defending her 2023 title and also won the class with a handsome margin of 1min 20sec over the second finisher Somyya Chaudhary, Remya Ravi finished a distinct third. Bani Dabholkar was fourth and Tanaya Singh finished fifth.

Super Stock upto 450 Group D:

Arshad Muhammed was the winner of the class with a difference of 22 sec Uday Kumar M followed in second and came in third was Shivam Thakur with a difference of 15sec.Prithvi Dillon had to finish fourth with a further difference of 15sec, while Goutham Tao R with 13sec difference finished in fifth position.

Star of Maharashtra:

Amarendra Sathe from Pune ensuring his presence felt in spite of being in and out of rallying, he finished first with a overall time of 31min 59.600sec, Lokesh Anil Bhosale finished second with 30sec deficit, Kishor Jadhav finished third with 7sec difference. Shridhar Pandey missed the podium with a margin of 59sec, Sanjay Bedse finished fifth and Prithviraj Pingale was sixth.



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