The Champions Yacht Club FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) 2019 witnessed some unprecedented action during the Rally of Coimbatore, the second round of national rally championship.
With a record 65 entries received by the officials for this round, the new promoter of the championship, Champions Yacht Club, was indeed ecstatic to see the overwhelming response. Of the 65 entries, 57 got the green signal from the pre-event scrutiny officials and were thus on their way to drive around three special stages (Black Thunder, Thunder World & LMW), featuring rocky, car-killing terrain. The Rally of Coimbatore ran 8 Special Stages (SS1-SS8), with SS1-SS5 reserved for Day 1 and the three remaining stages scheduled for Day 2.
In a rally which will go down in INRC's history as one of the most challenging rounds ever, Team Akshara's Chetan Shivram & Dilip Sharan, driving an INRC 3-spec Volkswagen Polo, emerged on top at the end of Day 2 and lifted the overall INRC win trophies. The duo, who also happen to be brothers, finished the rally in a total time of 1:33:51.700 (Also won the INRC 3 Class). Behind by just 4.6 seconds, Younus Ilyas & Harish Gowda of Race Concepts Motorsports drove their Mitsubishi Cedia with great skill & precision to clinch the second spot on the podium (Also won the INRC 2 Class). The final step on the podium was claimed by Team Champions' Fabid Ahmer & Sanath G, who also happened to drive an INRC 3-spec Volkswagen Polo. While Shivram & Ahmer were competing in the INRC 3 category, Ilyas & Gowda belonged to INRC 2.
It is also worth mentioning that out of the six competitors fighting in the top INRC class, five of them dropped out on Day 1 owing to mechanical failures. The only INRC competitor team left, Girija Shankar Joshy & Chandramouli M also fell back to the end of the pack in SS8, thereby ruling out the entire INRC category out of contention for the first time. The INRC grid consisted of renowned names & favourites like Gaurav Gill/Musa Sherif (Mahindra Adventure), Amittrajit Ghosh/Ashwin Naik (Mahindra Adventure), Karna Kadur/Nikhil Pai (Arka Motorsport), Phalguna Urs/Srikanth Gowda (Snap Racing) and Vikram Mathias /Sujith Kumar (Race Concepts Motorsports).
Meanwhile, winners of Round 1 - Rally of South India, Dean Mascarenhas/Shruptha Padival were off to a good start in SS1. However, they became victims of the unforgiving terrain in SS2 as their car got stuck. The time it took for them to recover ruled out their chances of victory. But the privateers persevered and managed to clinch the second spot on the podium in the INRC 2 class.
While Day 2 witnessed smoother proceedings with minimal DNFs, it was Day 1 which took a big toll on the competitors, primarily due to ever-changing weather conditions, which played spoilsport in terms of choosing a strategy and sticking to it. Day 1 witnessed around 25 DNFs, which meant that only about half of the competitors (approx.) managed to finish the day. While teams like Mahindra Adventure called it quits after Day 1, some teams managed overnight repairs, bringing up the start order for Day 2 to 46.
The INRC bandwagon will now head to Rajasthan for its third round, the Rally of Jodhpur, scheduled to take place from 20-22 September 2019.