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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Arjuna awardee Gaurav Gill’s car hits bike on rally route, three of family killed

The deceased were not wearing helmets and were on the track, even though a warning had been issued before the race.

other-sports Updated: Sep 21, 2019 23:01 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Barmer/New Delhi
Gaurav Gill
Gaurav Gill(Twitter)
         

Tragedy struck the national rally championship’s Jodhpur leg on Saturday after three members of a family on a motorcycle that had entered the race route died on the spot after being hit at high speed by ace driver Gaurav Gill’s car, organisers said.

The accident took place on Saturday morning as Gill, the first driver, was barely 150m from finishing Stage 1 in Round 3 of the FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) near Ranideshipura village in Rajasthan’s Barmer district.

Organisers of the rally event, which was immediately called off following the accident, said Gill was barely 200m from the finish line when the accident took place. The deceased have been identified as Narendra, the rider, wife Pushpa, and their minor son Jitendra.

“Despite our best efforts and all the safety precautions being in place, people on a bike had an argument with the officials and forcefully entered the stage despite (officials) trying to stop them. The accident took place within 150-200m from the finish line as the competitor was coming at a high speed,” J Prithviraj, president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) said.

Police and district administration officials were not immediately available for comment.

Following the accident, Gill was also taken to hospital for treatment. “Gaurav was hospitalised in the afternoon. He suffered some injuries in the accident, but he is not grievously injured. His co-driver/navigator Musa Sherif is fine,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

Rally organiser Arvind Balan, said: “The rally had to be brought to an abrupt end after one of the cars hit a motorcycle carrying three people. The motorcycle had forcibly entered the barricaded area, breaking past the security barrier while the stage was still ‘green’. The driver was moving at high speed and could not even see the motorbike as it (the car) emerged at a sharp turn.”

Gill, a three-time Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) winner, has won the national rally championship six times. He is chasing his third national title in a row. He became the first Indian in motor sport to be given the Arjuna award this year.

He recently won the prestigious Dakshin Dare rally. He is also taking part in the World Rally Championship 2, the second tier of international rallying.

The 2019 INRC had completed two rounds, in Chennai and Coimbatore. The last three legs are scheduled for later in the year in Kochi, Bengaluru and Chikmagalur.

First Published: Sep 21, 2019 16:25 IST

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