The second round of the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) and the Indian Rally Championship (IRC) is scheduled to begin tomorrow at Nashik, Maharashtra. Unlike last year, the MRF Rally of Maharashtra is being run in a single-day format, covering close to 400km. The rally will host six special stages (three stages running in two loops) measuring close to 70km in all. According to Mahindra Adventure's Amittrajit Ghosh, the single-day format does help with the team's logistics, but puts more pressure on the drivers to commit fewer errors by reducing the distance in each stage.
A shot of Gaurav Gill from the 2015 Rally of Maharashtra, which he won
Of all five rounds in the 2016 rally calendar, this is the only one which hosts tarmac special stages. And this year, the Rally of Maharashtra received entries from a total of 32 teams of which, 27 are competing in the INRC.
Ashwin Naik and Amittrajit Ghosh, winners of INRC Round 1
Leading the scoreboard in this championship is Ghosh and his co-driver Ashwin Naik, after their win at the first round in Coimbatore. While Mahindra Adventure's Sunny Sidhu (co-driver PVS Murthy) finished second in the previous round, he will have to sit this one out due to a minor injury. Philippos Mathai, who is the ex-team manager and development driver, will take his place. In third position currently, is privateer, Dean Mascarenhas (co-driver Shanmuga SN) driving the Volkswagen Polo R2.
Meanwhile, there's a lot of pressure on Mahindra Adventure's Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) to win this round after failing to complete the previous one due to mechanical issues.
Inthe IRC, Abhilash PG (co-driver Srikanth Gowda) is at the top of the leaderboard, followed by Sanath G and Samir Thapar.