Rallyist Gill ends year on a high note

Sunday, November 22, 2009

CHIKMAGALUR - Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) of Team MRF Sunday clinched the Speed Indian National Rally Championship for the year 2009 by winning the Coffee Day Rally of Chikmagalur, the fifth and final round of the series that saw MRF achieving a 1-2-3 finish.

Gill, the 28-year old from Delhi, thus finished a wretched year on a bright note after having suffered 17 non-finishes over the past 12 months. And he just about managed to bring his Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia (N+) home in one piece with the car struck in second gear.

The three-minute road penalty that his team-mate Lohitt Urs (co-driver Shrikant Gowda) took eventually helped Gill to finish first in the event after losing a lot of time due to the gear box problems.

It is certainly a great feeling to win the championship after all that I went through in the last one year. I was anxious today to finish the event without any hitches, but my car got stuck in the second gear that cost me a lot of time. However, I had a good overnight lead and that saw me through, said Gill.

The victory took Gills championship points to 46 and though there are a couple of protests relating to the previous rounds pending, his position is unlikely to be disturbed.

Urs and team-mate Arjun Rao Aroor (co-driver Satish Rajagopal) came in second and third respectively.

Gills victory was virtually sealed with Red Rooster Racings Vikram Mathias (co-driver PVS Murthy) retired due to suspension problems at the start of the second Leg this morning.

It just had to happen at the wrong time. This had not been the best year for me as I suffered mechancial problems in the first three rounds but the win in Kolkata put me in contention, said Mathias.

Girijashankar Joshy (co-driver Chandramouli M) won the 1600cc category ahead of Rahul Kanthraj (co-driver Vivek Bhatt) and Joseph C Jos (co-driver Royce Kizhakoodan) of Team DDL Sports, but it was Sujay Suresh (co-driver Manoj Mohan) who earned a leg point today and won the National title in this class with 50 points.

In the 1400 cc class, Vikram Devadasen (co-driver Nikhil Pai) won to annex the championship in his class, but more importantly, was ahead of Francis Jose (co-driver Manoj Mohan) who was lying just two points behind at the start of the rally here.

Karna Kadur (co-driver Somonita Ghosh) did just enough in the Rally Star Cup class by picking up leg points to annex the championship in this category with 52 points despite finishing sixth, while Balram CG (co-driver Raghuram CG) who won the event here, ended up second on the leaderboard, a mere two points behind.

In the Maruti Gypsy class, Sandeep Sharma (co-driver Anmol Rampal) of Team Thunderbolt, won not only the event here but also the championship by adding 16 points to his tally of 46 that took him ahead of Kushwant Randhawa who finished second to wind up with 61 points.

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