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South India Rally: Surprises in store

Posted on Jul 25 2014 | IANS

Chennai, July 25 : If the opinions of the top title contenders in the AVT Premium South India Rally commencing here Saturday are anything to go by, then there could be a few surprise results.

The participants, after a recce run of the three Special Stages Friday morning, were unanimous in their appreciation of the terrain that they described as "fast and flowing, but not technical" though rains that lashed the area Friday evening could add a twist to the proceedings.

Former India Davis Cup captain Vijay Amritraj did the honours at the ceremonial flag-off ceremony at a City Mall, here Friday evening with Ajit Thomas of AVT Group and president of the organizers Madras Motor Sports Club, presided.

Witnessed by a large gathering, the 29 cars participated in the event before heading to the MMRT track in Sriperumbudur from where the two-day Rally which is the third round of the FMSCI Indian Rally Championship commences early Saturday.

Championship leader and 2013 Asia Pacific Rally champion Gaurav Gill of Team Mahindra Adventure driving a XUV 500, stated that the two Mitsubishi Evo cars in the fray held definite advantage.

Samir Tharpar (co-driver Gurinder Mann) will be piloting a Evo X while PG Abhilash (Kumar Ramaswamy) of Team R3A PGA Motorsport an Evo 6.

"The Special Stages are non-technical though extremely fast. The Evo with more horsepower than any car in the Rally, will definitely enjoy an advantage. Of course, I will do my best to keep pace with them, but I expect them to be quicker," said Gill who along with co-driver Musa Sherif is on a hat-trick following wins in the previous two rounds in Nashik and Coimbatore.

Echoing Gill's opinion were his team-mates Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik), the 2013 INRC champion and Karna Kadur (PVS Murthy) who switched from Mitsubishi Cedia to the XUV 500 replacing Sunny Sidhu who pulled out citing personal reasons.

Joint leader in the IRC 2000cc class, Rahul Kanthraj (Vivek Bhatt), who is driving a Mitsubishi Cedia, also concurred that the faster Evo cars have every chance to win.

"They (the Evos) only need to stay on the road as they will definitely make time on others on the long straights due to their more powerful engines," said Kantraj, veteran of many a battle.

The cars will be covering the three Super Special stages twice Saturday and once Sunday while the Spectator Special Stage on the MMRT race track will be run on both days.

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