39th K-1000 rally

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Bangalore, 8 Nov 2013: Reigning national champion Amittrajit Ghosh who is leading the Indian National Rally Championship Driver’s standing by a whopping 56 points is looking to seal the title, with one more leg to go, as the popular IMG 39th K-1000, the fourth round of the INRC, was flagged off at a colorful ceremonial start at the busy Mantri Mall here on Friday.

As the action begins at the Special Stages at the India Mines near Tumkur on Saturday morning, Ghosh and his co-driver Ashwin Naik are raring to go. ``I liked the Alpha stage and we are expecting the other two stages to become rough for the second run. We will be going all out to clinch the championship here, nevertheless controlled aggression is the mantra,’’ said Ghosh, tongue-in-cheek, after the recce on Friday.

Organized by Karnataka Motor Sports Club, this prestigious rally which is in its 39th consecutive year. This year 37 entries were received from all over the country. The top class, INRC 2000 cc category, received 8 entries while 1600 cc class got 14 entries. There are 10 cars in the Junior category including a lady driver. The newly introduced Indian SUV Rally Championship and the Indian Rally Championship has 3 entries each with one entry participating in both IRC and  INRC 2000 class.

Gaurav Gill, who has just returned from his historic win in the 2013 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, will spearhead the Mahindra challenge in a SUV along with co-driver Musa Sherif while Malaysian team of Karamjit Singh and Jagdev Singh will be the cynosure of all eyes for Volkswagen in IRC.

The Malaysian rally star, a former APRC winner, will be driving for Team Slideways Industries and will be testing the Polo R2 during this event. The Polo R2 is expected to compete in the Indian Rally Championship from 2014 season.

The Polo R2 will compete in a new category R2 that is expected to be introduced by FMSCI in IRC from 2014 season. Before entering the competitive season, the Polo R2 will be tested at K-1000 Rally and then at the Chikmaglur Rally in December 2013.

Prithviraj Siddappa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India, said: “The first running in of the car has been done and the feedback has been good so far. Karamjit Singh has been driving the Group N Polo this season for which we have been providing technical and spares support at the rally stages. He will now move up to the R2 which is a more powerful car. His inputs are crucial for developing the car further and we hope to see some positive steps after the K-1000 Rally.”

``While in Bangalore, we will be rooting Arjun Rao Aroor, who is leading the 1600 cc in a Volkswagen Polo and in fact, the top three runners in this class are all in a Polo,’’ he added.

There are three special stages, the Alpha (14.5 kms), the Beta (14.5) and the India Mines Stage (7.32) which will be run twice in the same direction on Saturday and once on Sunday. The Alpha stage has some fast sections mixed with a small hill climb along with some wonderful hairpins to negotiate the second stage, is very challenging, mostly run in the social forest. It has some very quick stretches with some dangerous causeways.

The India Mines stage is a driver’s delight since the stage consists of fast straights with some quick corners. Despite the challenging up-hill stretches, this stage is spectators’ delight packed with thrills. Total Distance of the rally is 562.48 kms including a liaison distance of 453.37 kms Special Stage distance of 109.11 kms.

The podium ceremony will be held at the Rally headquarters at Holiday Palms on Sunday afternoon.

K-1000 Saturday report

Tumkur, 9 Nov 2013: Kolkota-Bangalore pair Amittrajit Ghosh and co-driver Ashwin Naik are in sight of their second consecutive National title, as they took a commanding lead on the first day of the IMG 39th K-1000 rally, the fourth round of the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC), at the Special Stages, about 30 kms from here, on Saturday.

Ghosh and Naik duo, who are having a 56-point lead, had to just finish the rally as their nearest rivals Vikram Devadasen and co-driver George Verghese crashed.

Driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia in Group N, the duo clocked 1hr, 03mins, 28.7seconds to take a 28.8 seconds lead over Prithvi Dominic and co-driver Pruthvi Sthal, who are in the second place. Rahul Kanthraj and navigator Vivek Bhatt are in third place with three stages to go on Sunday.

Devadasen saw a puncture in SS-5 and then pulled out with only half a kilometre to the finish of the final stage. “Just into a right-hander just before the flying finish, I hit a bund. I did my best to control the car, but it flipped and landed on the roof. Some bystanders helped us roll the car back and we continued, but lost too much time. We will rejoin the Rally on Sunday, but we have no chance to finish anywhere at the top,” said Devadasen.

Ghosh, who will be missing the final round at Chikmaglur due to change in the dates, is keen on clinching the championship here. He maintained a consistent pace through out the six Stages. “We didn’t have any problems today. I am disappointed that I would be missing the last round in Chikmagalur but things look bright as we are in a good position to clinch the championship here tomorrow,'' the defending champion hoped.

Speed maestro Gaurav Gill, with experienced navigator Musa Sherif calling the pace notes, lead the time sheets clocking one hour 53.3 seconds in his modified Mahindra XUV 500 in the SUV-NRC. Fresh from his victory in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, Gill displayed his usual drifts and was at his best today. His Mahindra Adventure Rally teammate Sunny Sidhu (PVS Murthy) were in second place behind two minutes while Lohitt Urs (Bonnie Thomas), the third Mahindra entrant, were third,  another 57 seconds apart.

In the INRC 1600cc class, championship leader Arjun Rao and co-driver Satish Rajagopal are facing a tough fight from Sirish Chandran and co-driver Nikhil Pai of Slideways Industries, who were just 4.9 seconds behind. Both of them in Volkswagen Polo rally cars are separated by only six points in the championship.

In the Junior INRC class, Suhem MK and navigator Jeevarathinam are leading with a one minute, 3.3 seconds lead over Aroor Viram Rao and co-driver Somayya AG. Championship leader Asad Khan and co-driver Zayne Asrar are way back in seventh place.

WRC driver and Malaysian ace Karamjit Singh and co-driver Jagdev Singh, also from Malaysia, were testing a factory-prepared VW Polo R2 that will make an entry in the 2014 season. They were quickest in the Indian Rally Championship with a 15-minute lead over Sumit Panjabi and co-driver Prakhyath Shirole in a Cedia. Veteran pair N Leelakrishnan and D Ram Kumar, who took a last-minute entry, in a four-wheel drive Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, retired with a damaged oil pump in Special Stage 2.

Provisional Results after Leg 1:

INRC Overall / 2000cc: 1. Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Cedia)  1hr, 03mins, 28.7secs; 2. Prithvi Dominic / Pruthvi Sthal 01:04:57.5; 3. Rahul Kanthraj / Vivek Bhatt 3 (01:05:04.6).

INRC 1600cc: 1. Arjun Rao / Satish Rajagopal (VW Polo) 01:05:59.5; 2. Sirish Chandran / Nikhil Pai (VW Polo, Slidways Industries) 01:06:04.4; 3. Byram Godrej / Prajwal Pai (VW Polo, Slideways Industries) 01:11:53.3.

JINRC: 1. Suhem MK / J Jeevarathinam 01:07:09.9; 2. Aroor Vikram Rao / Somayya AG  01:08:13.2; 3. Philip Thomas / Milen George Cherian 01:10:15.2.

SUV RC: 1. Gaurav Gill / Musa Sherif (Mahindra Adventure Rally) 01:00:57.3; 2. Sunny Sidhu / PVS Murthy (Mahindra Adventure Rally) 01:03:02.2; 3. Lohitt Urs / Bonnie Thomas (Mahindra Adventure Rally) 3 (01:04:00.1).

IRC: 1. Karamjit Singh / Jagdev Singh (VW Polo R2, Slideways Industries) 01:01:45.5; 2. Sumit Panjabi / Prakhyath Shirole (Cedia) 01:16:47.1.