Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driver Ashwin Naik) of Red Rooster Racing, aided by 20 seconds of “grace time”, won the overall title in the Rally of Coimbatore, the first round of the Speed-Indian National Rally Championship, sparing 13 seconds to Team MRF’s Arjun Aroor Rao (co-driver Satish Rajagopal).
In a late development on Saturday night, Ghosh gained 20 precious seconds following his successful plea for grace time in view of being held up by a slower car through much of Special Stage-8. The Stewards’ decision dislodged Rao from his provisional standing to second place, 14 seconds behind leader Ghosh.
On Sunday, when the final two Stages were run, Ghosh lost 19 seconds to Rao on SS-9, but the Red Rooster driver made 18 seconds on the MRF competitor to regain his overnight lead. The pair clocked identical timing in the concluding Spectator Special Stage.
However, Team MRF intended to protest the 20-second grace time to Ghosh and if the Stewards uphold the protest, then it is likely that Rao might yet be declared champion.
Finishing third behind the two Mitsubishi Cedia cars of Ghosh and Rao was Delhi’s Sandeep Sharma (co-driver Arjun Chopra) in a Maruti Gypsy.
In all, only 28 of the 61 starters completed all the 10 Special Stages and the Spectator Special, reflecting the rough terrain of the Rally.