On a day of mayhem on the Special Stages, 11 competitors,
including National champion Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) failed to
finish while Vikram Mathias and his first-time navigator Swaroop Mohan, took
the overall honours in the Coffee Day Rally in Chikkamagaluru in Karnataka.
This was the sixth and concluding round of the FMSCI Indian Rally Championship
on December 13, 2014.
Mathias, a former National champion, piloting the Mitsubishi
Evo IX for the first time ever, drove smart in tricky conditions to top the
time charts with one hour, 21 minutes, 33.8 seconds in the top-end IRC class,
enjoying a lead of over four minutes, said a press statement issued by the
In second spot behind Mathias was Sunny Sidhu (PVS Murthy)
in a XUV 500 of Team Mahindra Adventure, clocking 01:25:52.0, ahead of Arjun
Rao Aroor (Satish Rajagopal) in the Volkswagen Polo R2 (01:26:24.1).
Team Yokohama’s Rahul Kanthraj (Vivek Bhatt), who has
already sealed the championship in the IRC 2000 class, was the quickest in his
category with a time of 01:26:55.7 driving the Mitsubishi Cedia while young
Dean Mascarenhas (Shanmuga SN), in the VW Polo, put in another impressive show
to top the IRC 1600 category and was the second quickest on the day.
The day’s very first Special Stage claimed victims in Team
Mahindra Adventure’s Gill who retired due to a steering column problem with his
XUV 500, Samir Thapar (GS Mann) of JCT Rallying as his Evo X packed up with a
gearbox issue and Karna Kadur (Sujith Kumar) escaped unhurt after crashing his
Mitsubishi Cedia into a tree, wrecking the car.
Meanwhile, Mathias, who stopped rallying four seasons ago
but participates in one-off events, drove with some circumspection due to brake
issues. “It was scary as the brakes stopped working halfway into the Stages and
I had to ease off a bit. I also lost time on the day’s first Stage as I spun a
couple of times,” said Mathias.
Crowd favourite Gill, who did not also finish yesterday’s
Super Special Stage due to a broken drive shaft, said: “It was unfortunate that
the steering column gave way and there was nothing we could do, but I will be
rejoining the Rally on Sunday.”
Provisional Classification (Leg 1):
IRC: Vikram Mathias / Swaroop Mohan (Mitsubishi Evo IX) 1
(01hr, 21mins, 33.8secs); Sunny Sidhu / PVS Murthy (Mahindra Adventure, XUV
500) 2 (01:25:52.0); Arjun Rao Aroor / Satish Rajagopal 3 (VW Polo R2) 3
IRC 2000: Rahul Kanthraj / Vivek Bhatt (Team Yokohama,
Cedia) 1 (01:26:55.7); Prithvi Dominic / Chandrashekar M (Cedia) 2
(01:27:13.4); Byram Godrej / Somaya AG (Slideways Industries, VW Polo) 3
IRC 1600: Dean Mascarenhas / Shanmuga SN (VW Polo) 1
(01:25:09.5); Chandan Gowda / Shahid Salman (VW Polo) 2 (01:31:23.5); Ritesh M
Guttedar / Lokaranjan (VW Polo) 3 (01:43:45.7).
FMSCI 1600 Cup: Raghu Nandan B / Suraj K (Honda City V-Tec)
1 (01:29:28.3); Bopaiah KM / K Karumbaiah (Maruti Esteem) 2 (01:29:51.4);
Lokesh Gowda / Ashika Menezes (Maruti Esteem) 3 (01:31:06.3).