Gill looks to extend lead in Round 3 of natl rally championship tomorrow

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OB Bureau

Jaipur: India’s ace rallyist Gaurav Gill will be the cynosure of all eyes as Round 3 of the MRF FMSCI National Rally Championship 2017, the MRF Rally of Rajasthan, gets under way here late on Saturday evening, with an exciting night stage being introduced for the first time in the MRF FMSCI INRC.

The Team Mahindra Adventure driver, along with his navigator Musa Sherif, was imperious in the first round at Coimbatore, winning all the stages to streak into the lead with 25 points.

They will look to extend their lead in this round, which has been drawn up with sharp curves to test the skills of about 30-stronng field across seven special stages.

Defending INRC champion and current INRC 2 leader Karna Kadur and his co-driver Nikhil V Pai (Arka Motorsports; 18 points) are expected to be his main challengers in their VW Polo. Two-time INRC champion Amittrajit Ghosh and Ashwin Naik (Team Mahindra Adventure; 15 points) who are in the third place after Round 1 will also look to flex their muscles.

“The night stage is going to be an interesting challenge,” Gill said at the press conference. “I have never rallied in my XUV at night so I will have to first get used to the new lights of the car. Moreover, we will have to drive on different surfaces. Tarmac, rough gravel, sand. So, we need to plan all our setups, suspensions and tyres well,” he pointed out.

Gill faces another piquant situation as the APRC final round will be held simultaneously with the INRC’s Chikmagalur round. “I will go for broke as I have to get as many points as possible in the remaining rounds, starting from here,” he added.

Karna revealed that his car upgrades are still not in place. “Sadly, they might be ready only by the next round. I am not too worried though. I will give it my best shot and get some crucial points,” he said.

The MRF Rally of Rajasthan will cover a total distance of close to 209 kilometres on the outskirts of the Pink City, with the 73.22 kilometres long special stages being run on dirt roads. It traverses through closed sections of public and private roads, giving the drivers the freedom to go all out in their quest for success. The entire road map was shared a day in advance allowing to the teams to complete their reconnaissance and draw their strategies.

Titles and cash prizes will be up for grabs in five categories — INRC, INRC 2, INRC 3, FMSCI 4WD Cup and FMSCI 2WD Cup giving every driver an opportunity to test their mettle.

“The Jaipur leg is a very special one as we have a night stage in the MRF FMSCI INRC for the very first time. The drivers will hit the stages after 8 pm and that is going to present them with a new challenge,” Arindam Ghosh, Director of RRPM and promoter of the MRF FMSCI INRC 2017, said.

OB Bureau

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