After failing to finish in any of the earlier rallies this year, reigning champion Vikram Mathias finally had the run of luck as he surged into lead at the fourth round of the 2009 Indian National Rally Championship in Nashik on Saturday. Mathias of Team Red Rooster Racing, who started in the lead, finished fastest in the first leg with a timing of 56 minutes and 30 seconds.
But it wasn't a smooth ride all the way for the 34-year-old. Mathias encountered problems with the fuel line in the third stage and lost close to a minute-and-a-half. He responded to it the only way he could --- by going full throttle. By the time he drove the sixth and final Special Stage on Saturday, Mathias was 16 seconds ahead of MRF's Lohitt Urs. A lead, he believes, is just marginal.
It was even more important that Mathias keep the lead in the Red Rooster stable, as his teammate Amittrajit Ghosh packed up when the front wheel of his car came loose, also in the third stage.
"We would have ideally liked to finish 1-2," said Mathias. "I think our tyres gave us a slight advantage on the course. But the last stage (stretching 16.59 kms) was all loose tar. "