Vikram Mathias kept his cool and his lead as he cruised to victory in the fourth round of the 2009 Indian National Rally Championships in Nashik on Sunday.
For 34-year old Mathias, the reigning National champion and who clocked one hour, 23 minutes, 12 seconds, it was his first win of the season following retirements in the previous three rounds.
“About two years ago I wouldn’t have taken it easy,” said Mathias, who started on Sunday with a 16-second lead. “I would have gone all-out despite knowing that I was ahead and making good time in every stage. I wasn’t driving at my fastest today, because there was no reason to take risks.”
Arjun Balu (co-driver Sujith Kumar BS) of Team MRF moved to second place following retirement of team-mate Lohitt Urs (co-driver Shrikant Gowda). Arjun Rao Aroor (co-driver Satish Rajagopal) came in a distant third.
Gill, the championship leader going into the fourth round, retired on the very first day with a broken drive shaft and rejoined the Rally for Leg 2.
He suffered a puncture in the first Special Stage and was fastest in the second, but his charge ended when he got stuck in first gear for nearly five kms in the day’s concluding Stage.