Car failure came to haunt MRF’s Gaurav Gill again as the Delhi driver failed to complete the Super Special stage of the fourth round of the 2009 Indian National Rally Championships in Nashik on Friday.
Team Red Rooster made most of his adversity with their drivers, Vikram Mathias and Amittrajit Ghosh clocking the fastest timings. Defending champion Mathias and Ghosh both drove the 2.5 kms in one minute and 52 seconds.
MRF’s Lohitt V Urs (1:54) Arjun Balu (1:56) and Aroor Arjun Rao (1:58) followed the Roosters to complete the 2000cc slots.
Championship leader Gill’s race is as good as ever as he went out in the first lap itself with a gearbox problem and is unlikely resume on Saturday. The first leg of the rally, held as a spectator stage, saw the drivers come out in the reverse order of the leaderboard. While the crowd on the sidelines waited for a zipping finale from Gill, his car purred and came to a halt on an uphill.
A distraught Gill, looking forward to consolidate his championship position, said: “What can I say? I test drove the car this morning and everything was fine. I just can’t believe the kind of bad luck I have been having this season.”
Going into first corner, Gill said he couldn’t shift gears. “I thought the gear had slipped into neutral. I tried third, fourth and even fifth gears, but there was no drive. There was a lot of oil leakage, so I guess, my rally is over,” he said.
As he could not finish the first leg, he will not be seen in action on Saturday but is hoping resume on Sunday if he is cleared to drive by the technical committee.
Assessing the circuit, Red Rooster driver Ghosh, who trails Gill by four points, believes that given the nature of the track getting the car home, rather than concentrating on the championship.
Teammate Mathias, starting his rally in a new car after an unfortunate crash in the previus race in Bangalore, said there was too much loose gravel on the course that is supposed to be tarmac.
Overall/2000cc (N+): 1. Vikram Mathias / PVS Murthy (Red Rooster Racing) and Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Red Rooster Racing) 1min, 52 secs; 3. Lohitt V Urs / Shrikant Gowda (Team MRF) 3 (1:54); Arjun Balu / Sujith Kumar BS (Team MRF) 4 (1:56).
1600cc (Maruti Baleno): 1. Sujay Suresh / Varun Satyanarayan (2:01); 2. Jasbir Singh Randhawa / Ravi Agarwal (2:03); 3. Rahul Kanthraj / Vivek Bhatt and Joseph Jos / Royce Kizhakoodan (DDL Sports) (2:04).
1400cc (MPFI Esteem): 1. Vikram Devadasen / Nikhil Pai (2:01); 2. Sourabh Chaudhuri / Jeevarathnam (2:05); 3. Byram Godrej / Raymond Desouza (2:06).