"IRC 1600: Hrishikesh Thackersay/Ninad Mirajgaonkar (VW Polo) 1 (01:02:08.0); Sirish Chandran/Nikhil Pai (Slideways Industries, VW Polo) 2 (01:02:29.0); Druva Chandrasekar/Roopesh B (VW Polo) 3 (01:05:07.0)."
Nashik (Maharashtra), June 14 - Last year's National champion Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driver Ashwin Naik) was elevated from second to first with a 52-second lead after team-mate Gaurav Gill (Musa Sherif) was docked a road penalty of one minute and 40 seconds in the Mahindra Adventure Rally of Maharashtra, the first round of the FMSCI Indian Rally Championship, here Saturday.
Gill, the 2013 Asia Pacific champion, piloted the Mahindra Adventure team's XUV 500 with his customary panache and style as he finished the day with a 48-second lead over Ghosh (Ashwin Naik) who is driving the SUV for the first time and still getting used to the vehicle.
However, the road penalty that Gill took after the first loop of the three Special Stages reversed the standings, pushing Ghosh to the top and pulling Gill to second place.
While Ghosh drove at a consistent pace, Gill was involved in a stiff battle with JCT Rallying's Samir Thapar (Gurinder Mann) who was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.
While Gill was the quickest in three of the six Special Stages, so was Thapar who set the pace during the second loop.
While the big guns battled, Byram Godrej (Somayya AG), driving a VW Polo for Slideways Industries team, was third behind Gill and Ghosh in the provisional overall classification after Thapar, who eventually finished fifth overall, lost nearly three minutes in SS-3 due to some problems with his car.
In all, 19 of the 20 starters returned safely as Shriram Narayan (Lalith Kishore) went off the road. The damaged VW Polo was towed back to the service park for repairs.
Provisional classification (Leg 1):
IRC Overall: Amittrajit Ghosh/Ashwin Naik (Team Mahindra Adventure, XUV 500) 1 (59 mins, 08.0 secs); Gaurav Gill/Musa Sherif (Team Mahindra Adventure, XUV 500) 2 (01:00:00); Byram Godrej/Somayya AG (Slideways Industries, VW Polo) 3 (01:01:44.0).
IRC: Ghosh/Naik 1; Gill/Sherif 2; Samir Thapar/Gurinder Mann (JCT Rallying, Mitsubishi Evo X) 3 (01:02:13.0).
IRC 2000: Byram Godrej/Somayya AG (Slideways Industries, VW Polo) 1 (01:01:44.0); Rahul Kanthraj/Vivek Bhatt (Team Yokohama, Mitsubishi Cedia) 2 (01:02:45.0); Sumit Panjabi/Venu Ramesh Kumar (Mitsubishi Cedia) 3 (01:06:44.0).
IRC 1600: Hrishikesh Thackersay/Ninad Mirajgaonkar (VW Polo) 1 (01:02:08.0); Sirish Chandran/Nikhil Pai (Slideways Industries, VW Polo) 2 (01:02:29.0); Druva Chandrasekar/Roopesh B (VW Polo) 3 (01:05:07.0).
FMSCI 1600: Anirudha Ranganekar/Arjun Mehta (Maruti Baleno) 1 (01:06:48.0); Parag Dhiwar/Aditya Dhiwar (Maruti Baleno) 2 (01:08:04.0); Adith K/Harish KN (Honda City V-tec) 3 (01:08:19.0).