Arjun Balu and co-driver Sujith Kumar of Team MRF kept their lead intact and stayed ahead of their immediate rivals and teammates Gaurav Gill and Moosa Sheriff by over three minutes in the IMG Sports K-1000 rally, the second leg of the Speed-Indian National Rally Championship here on Saturday.
Amitrajit Ghosh and Ashwin Naik, claimed three points for the fastest time on the second day to provide some consolation for the Red Rooster Racing team whose two entries are out of the running for the top honours.
With only the Super Special Stage remaining on Sunday, Arjun Balu, made sure of his top finish with a blistering run in the last Mulberry Special Stage 12, covering a distance of 10.3km in 7 min 4 seconds. This was 72 seconds faster than teammate Gaurav Gill and co-driver Moosa Sheriff.
Arjun Rao Aroor and Satish Rajagopal were in third place ensuring a sweep for Team MRF.
Driving a Maruti Esteem in the 1400cc class, Vikram Devadasan and co-driver Nikhil Pai clocked 1:38.02s to keep their lead while Joseph C. Jos and co-driver Royce Kizhakoodan of Team DDL Sports, Kochi, are leading with a comfortable margin in the 1600cc category.
With Karna Kadur and co-driver Somonnitha Ghosh crashing out, Phalguna Urs and Anoop Kumar have taken the lead in the Rally Star Cup with a time of 1:44.11s, while overnight leaders Sandeep Sharma and Anmol Rajpal of Team Thunderbolt from Chandigarh managed to maintain their hold in the Gypsy class with an overall timing of 1:44.54s.
Indian cricket captain, M.S. Dhoni will flag-off the third day’s action and also give away the prizes.
Provisional results after Leg 2:
Overall/2000cc: 1. Arjun Balu & Sujith Kumar (Team MRF, Cedia N+), 1hr, 29mins, 36secs; 2. Gaurav Gill & Moosa Sheriff (Team MRF, Cedia N+),1:32.37; 3. Aroor Arjun Rao & Satish Rajagopal (Team MRF, Cedia N+), 1:34.16.
1600cc (Baleno): 1. Joseph Jos & Royce K. 1:37:17; 2. S. Sujay & S. Varun, 1:39.21; 3. Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Bhatt, 1:39.30.
1400cc (MPFI Esteem): 1. Vikram Devadasen & Nikhil Pai, 1:38.01; 2. Jos Francis & M. Manoj, 1:42.59; 3. Samarth Gowda & S.M. Bharath, 1:44.33.
Rally Star Cup (Carburetted Esteem): 1. Phalguna Urs & Anoop Kumar, 1:44.11; 2. Elias Thomas Paarel & George, 1:44.21; 3. C.G. Balaram & C.G. Raghuram, 1:44.23.
Gypsy: 1. Sandeep Sharma & Anmol Ramphal (Team Thunderbolt), 1:44.54; 2. Khushwant Randhawa & Harminder, 1:46.54; 3. Sanjay Agarwal & Chetan Shivram, 1:47.01.