Defending FMSCI, Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) champion Karna Kadur capitalised on an error made by Amittrajit Ghosh to seal victory in the India Rally on Saturday.
Ghosh made an uncharacteristic driving error that saw him pile his Mahindra XUV 500 into the foundation stone of a gate during the fourth special stage of the rally.
Kadur and his co-driver Nikhil Pai were just 0.1 seconds ahead in the overall classification at the time of Ghosh’s accident. An extremely slim margin that INRC fans were hoping would be an augur of a close battle to the finish.
While the foundation stone was completely destroyed, the car was able to continue and make it back to the service park after spectators and officials turned back the upturned car. However, the damage to the car was too much for it to continue in the rally, and Ghosh had to accept a big hit for his title aspirations.
Second place therefore went to Arjun Rao and co-driver Satish Rajgopal ahead of the overall third-placed team of Dean Mascharenas and co-driver Shruptha Padival.
Gaurav Gill had been competing in the INRC parallel to his FIA APRC campaign but chose the latter over the former for the India Rally. It is unclear whether Gill will compete in the two remaining rounds of the INRC before the season concludes.
Taking over for Gill in the India Rally was Philipos Matthai and Gill’s long-time co-driver Musa Sherif.
The 2017 INRC season has been hit with event postponements and cancellations due to inclement weather in Chennai and Arunachal Pradesh. While the Chennai round has now been cancelled, the Arunachal round and the K-1000 rally in Bangalore are still scheduled to be held later in the year.
An additional point of interest in the India Rally was the participation of two Toyota Etios Liva cars entered by Toyota Racing Development. The two cars with the bare minimum modifications were driven by Akito Tachibana and co-driver Katsuhisa Idei and Umesh V Malashetti and co-driver Somaiah.
In all likelihood, the turbo-diesel powered cars’ – they finished last among the 15 classified finishers – entry was a glorified test session to evaluate the possibility of a one-make rally series.