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Stage set for South India Rally

Posted on Jul 24 2014 | IANS

Chennai, July 24 : A 29-car grid, headed by championship leader Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) of Team Mahindra Adventure, will feature in the AVT Premium South India Rally, the third round of the Indian Rally Championship commencing here Saturday after a ceremonial flag-off Friday.

The three Special Stages, that will be run thrice, are located in Sriperumbudur, about 35 km from the city and given the fast and flowing terrain, the two-day event promises a lot of action. On both days, the Spectator Special Stage will also be run on the MMRT race track where the rally will start and finish.

Reigning Asia-Pacific Rally Champion (APRC) Gill, driving a Mahindra XUV 500, has opened a huge lead in the championship after victories in Nashik and Coimbatore, for a tally of 77 points with teammate Sunny Sidhu (PVS Murthy) in second at 36.

However, Sidhu will skip the event and young Karna Kadur will drive his XUV 500, switching from the Mitsubishi Cedia he piloted at Coimbatore.

Gill's other main rival and teammate Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik), the 2013 Indian National Rally Champion (INRC), has had a disappointing start to the season, finishing second in Nashik and drawing a blank at Coimbatore where he retired with turbo problems.

Also in the fray are two Mitsubishi Lancer Evos. Abhilash P.G. (Kumar Ramaswamy) will be in a Evo 6 and eager to make for a non-finish in Coimbatore and JCT Rallying's veteran Samir Thapar (Gurinder S. Mann) piloting an Evo X.

While Gill is expected to continue his win-spree, the hottest competition will be in the IRC 2000 class where Rahul Kanthraj (Vivek Bhatt) of Team Yokohama in a Mitsubishi Cedia and Byram Godrej (Somayya A.G.) of Slideways Industries driving Volkswagen Polo are tied on 69 points.

Just 11 points separate the top-3 in the IRC 1600 class where Hrishkesh Thackersey (Ninad Mirajgaonkar) is in the lead with 56 points ahead of Phalguna Urs (Anoop Kumar), who has 48, just three ahead of Team Yokohama's Vikram Devadasen (Srikant Gowda).

The situation in the 1600 Cup class is also tight with Anirudha Ranganekar (Nitin Jacob) on 61 and Adith K.C. (Harish K.N.) on 60.

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