INRC 2019: Dean Mascarenhas takes victory at season-opening Chennai rally
The first round of the 2019 Champions' Yacht Club Indian National Rally Championship concluded in Chennai. It was a rally of rapidly changing fortunes, and eventually saw Dean Mascarenhas of Team Champions taking victory.
Mascarenhas took the lead on the first day of the rally. He won Stage 3, and finished second in Stage 6 of the day, and ended the day with a 9.3 second lead. Mascarenhas, with co-driver Shruptha Padival clocked a total time of 54:48.800 minutes. Following the INRC2 driver, was Arka Motorsports' Rahul Kantharaj, with co-driver Vivek Bhatt. While INRC3 driver Fabid Ahmer and Sanath G ended the day third overall.
It was also a day when Gaurav Gill, piloting the new Mahindra Adventure Super XUV300, struggled. Despite a spirited fight in the second half of the day, coupled with victory in the final stage, Gill ended the day ninth overall. Meanwhile, his Mahindra Adventure team-mate Amittrajit Ghosh took the overall lead in theINRC category, and also took sixth overall.
On the Sunday of the rally, Gill put up a spirited fight for victory. However, it was not to be. Mascarenhas went into the final leg of the rally with a 10-second overall lead in the rally, and a handy 1.41 minutes lead over Gill. While Gill was steadily making inroads into the lead, he had a massive blow on the penultimate stage of the rally, when a herd of cows blocked his path, costing him over 10 seconds. Despite the fact that the stewards awarded him 10 seconds, it was not enough for him to take the overall win. That went to Mascarenhas and Padival, while Ahmer took second, and Gill and Sherif took third overall.
"We worked very hard to make up for the lackluster first two days," Gill said. "We changed the tyres and the setup at every opportunity and it paid dividends until bad luck hit us," he added.
Gill's JK Tyre partner Mascarenhas was, however, delighted with his breakthrough victory. "My car had lost one of the four cylinders on Saturday itself and it kept stalling, adding to the pressure. I however held my nerves and came through, making this one of my sweetest wins," he said.
2019 Champions' Yacht Club Indian National Rally Championship - South India Rally of Chennai results:
1) Dean Mascarenhas & Shruptha Padival 1:45.10.800 hr; 2) Fabid Ahmer & Sanath G 1:45:24.400 hr; 3) Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif 1:45:27.800 hr
1) Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif 1:45:27.800 hr; 2) Phalguna URS & Srikanth Gowda 1:48:04.500 hr
1) Dean Mascarenhas & Shruptha Padival 1:45.10.800 hr; 2) Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Bhatt 1:45:28.600 hr; 3) Ritesh Guttedar.M & Lokaranjan H.J 1:53:13.300 hr
1) Fabid Ahmer & Sanath G 1:45:24.400 hr; 2) Arjun Rao & Shanmuga Sundaram 1:46:40.200 hr; 3) Daraius Shroff & Sheeraz Ahmed 1:47:40.700 hr
1) Vaibhav Marate & Arjun SSB 1:53:02.100 hr; 2) Rakshith Iyer & Chandrashekar 1:54:30.700 hr; 3) Shirole Prakhyat. H & Bharath S.M 1:59:19.700 hr
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