Aroor Arjun Rao claims South India Rally title

Aroor Arjun Rao claims South India Rally title

India’s Gaurav Gill did just enough to clinch the second round of the FIA-Asia Pacific Rally Championship (Asia Rally Cup) here on Sunday as the 46th South India Rally, organised by the Madras Motor Sports Club, concluded with two of the four Special Stages being called off following heavy overnight rains which rendered the MIC Track water-logged and virtually unmotorable. Aroor Arjun Rao claims South India Rally title.

Finishing second behind Delhi-based Gill who was partnered by Aniruddha Rangnekar for the first time in his career in a Subaru Impreza, was Thailand duo of Mana Pornsiricherd and co-driver Thanyapat Meenil, representing the Toyota Rally Team while Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik) moved up a spot to third when Karna Kadur (Nikhil Pai) retired after stalling in the day’s last Stage which was subsequently cancelled.

Meanwhile Mangaluru’s Aroor Arjun Rao (Satish Rajagopal) took the Overall title in the Blueband Sports Fmsci Indian National Rally Championship, his first win in seven years. Sahil Khanna (Harish KN Gowda) topped the INRC-2 category while Daraius Shroff (Shahid Salman) sealed his maiden win in the National championship crown by finishing first in the INRC-3 category.

Abhin Rai (D Uday Kumar) emerged champion in the INRC-4 category while Pragathi Gowda (Trisha Alonkar) took the honours in the Ladies class and Arjun Rajiv (Rohit Gowda) topped the Junior INRC category. Of the two physical Stages that were to be run twice each in reverse direction today, both the loops of the MIC Track Stage were cancelled. Thus, the final day’s schedule was reduced to two runs of the Aavisa Stage that held up well to the heavy rains and was dry.

Reflecting on his performance, Gill said: “I am very relieved as it was mentally very taxing weekend. There were niggles with my car that went on forever, and I am happy to bring it back home safely. There were also extreme changes in conditions. One stage (MIC Track) was bone dry and the other (Aavisa) slushy yesterday, and today, it was the other way around when portions of the Track stage were under water.

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I had a tough time negotiating it, and no surprises that the Stage was later cancelled as there was no way the two-wheel drive cars behind us could have made it. “As for the new co-driver, Aniruddha worked hard and was good considering it was his first time out with me. I was a bit nervous initially, but we settled down. Looking ahead, I will be getting back into the INRC this season and also plan to do the final round of the APRC in Indonesia later this year.”

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