Team MRF's Gaurav Gill began the season with a bang touching speeds of over 160kmph to comfortably win the Rally of Maharashtra, the first round of the Speed Indian National Rally Championship, on the foothills of Sahyadri ranges, about 100km from Nashik, on Sunday.
The 29-year-old from Delhi led overall by 8.03 minutes. Gill, the reigning National champion and the current leader in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), for once had to play second fiddle to his experienced navigator Musa Sherif, the 39-year old from Kasargod who became the first co-driver in India to take part in 200 rallies with 61 different drivers and riders.
Lohith V. Urs, with co-driver P.V. Srinivasa Murthy, finished overall runner-up in the 2000cc N+ category.
Of the 27 cars that started, 18 finished the rally.
The final results (provisional):
Overall: 1. Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif (Team MRF), 1hour, 20min, 34.0secs; 2. Lohith V. Urs & P. . Srinivasa Murthy (Team MRF) 1:28:37.0; 3. Sirish Chandran & Nikhil V. Pai 1:31:17.0.
Group 2000cc N+: 1. Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif (Team MRF) 1 hour, 20 min, 34.0 secs; 2. Lohith V. Urs & P.V. Srinivasa Murthy (Team MRF ) 1:28:37.0.
Group 2000cc N: 1. Sirish Chandran & Nikhil V. Pai (Team Overdrive) 1:31:17.0; 2. Shailender Hegde & Prajval Pai 1:34:18.0; 3. Rahul Kanthraj & Vivek Y. Bhatt 1:34:41.0.
Group 1600cc: 1. Aniruddha Rangnekar & Anjay Kapadia (Chettinad Sporting) 1:43:34.0; 2. Vignesh Devarajan & Mukesh Raja 2:13:06.0.
1400cc Star Cup: 1. Raghu Nandan (Team Ideal) & Sujay Prasad 1:37:07.0; 2. Deepak Chetty (Team Ideal) & Uday Kumar 1:40:20.0; 3. Hrishikesh Thackersey & Kaushik H. Shinde 1:46:57.0.
Gypsy Cup Group T1: 1. Sanjay Agarwal & Jeeva Rathinam 1:39:33.0.
Gypsy Cup Group N & T2: 1. Sachin Singh & Ramesh Venu 1:40:34.0; 2. Ranjiv Sally & Faruk Patel 1:43:38.0; 3. Shafeeq-ur Rahman & K.P. Ajith 1:44:29.0.