Arjun Balu (co-driver Sujith Kumar) of Team MRF kept his focus and expertly dashed through the two-kilometre long Spectator Special Stage and claimed the overall top honours in the IMG Karnataka-1000 Rally, the second round of the Speed-Indian National Rally Championship here on Sunday.
The 34-year-old Coimbatore ace thus ensured a clean sweep for Team MRF and it was his first big win in four years.
An elated Balu said: “I am happy with my performance, though I weathered a few problems. Since I had a good lead, I decided not to push myself today. For the past few years, some how luck was not on my side. So I was determined to hold my position and once I was in front”.
Gaurav Gill (co-driver Moosa Sherif) who finished overall second was the quickest today. In the overall third position was another Team MRF duo, Aroor Arjun Rao (co-driver Satish Rajagopal).
The overnight leaders consolidated their positions in their respective sections and finished as champions. They were: Joseph Jos and Royce K (1600cc), Vikram Devadasen and Nikhil Pai (1400cc), Phalguna Urs and Anoop Kumar (Rally Star Cup), and Sandeep Sharma and Anmol Ramphal (Gypsy).
The Indian cricket captain, M.S.Dhoni, presided and gave away the prizes and Arjun Balu, took Dhoni on a spin around the track.
Provisional, unaudited results:
Overall/2000cc: 1. Arjun Balu/Sujith Kumar (Team MRF, Cedia N+), 1hr, 31mins, 49secs; 2.Gaurav Gill/Moosa Sherif (Team MRF, Cedia N+) 2 1:34:44; 3. Aroor Arjun Rao/Satish Rajagopal (Team MRF, Cedia N+), 1:36:57.
1600cc (Baleno): 1. Joseph Jos/Royce K, 1:39:25; 2. S Sujay/Varun,\1:41:16; 3.Rahul Kanthraj/Vivek Bhatt, 1:41:49.
1400cc (MPFI Esteem): 1. Vikram Devadasen/Nikhil Pai (Esteem) , 1:40:36; 2. Jos Francis/Manoj M . , 1:45:21; 3. Samarth Gowda/SM Bharath, 1:46:51.
Rally Star Cup (Carbureted Esteem): 1. Phalguna Urs/Anoop Kumar, 1:46:33; 2. C.G. Balaram / C.G. Raghuram, 1:46:48); 3.Harikeshav Nambiar/Ashwin Nadig, 1:47:19.
Gypsy: 1. Sandeep Sharma/Anmol Ramphal (Team Thunderbolt), 1:47:14; 2. Khushwant Randhawa/Harminder, 1:48:12; 3. Sanjay Agarwal/Chetan Shivram, 1:49:22.