Reigning champion Gaurav Gill drove with controlled aggression to top the timesheets on the opening day of the Coffee Day India Rally, the fourth round of the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship here on Friday.
Driving the XUV 500 for Mahindra Adventure team, Gill did not look as spectacular as some of the drivers before him.
But the clean lines through the corner saw him clock 02:34.7 seconds for the 2.12 kms run as he led a 1-2 for his team, ahead of Amittrajit Ghosh who did 02:35.1 in the super special stage.
Local lad Karna Kadur of Arka Motorsports, piloting a Volkswagen Polo, was overall third quickest timing 02:36.1.
Thousands of spectators who thronged the school grounds were treated to an action-packed afternoon as Kadur topped in the INRC-2 category while Dhruva Chandrasekar was the fastest in the INRC-3 class with a time of 02:36.6.
The action will shift to the nearby coffee estates on Saturday when six special stages will be run. The rally will conclude on Sunday after the competitors complete one loop of the three special stages in the reverse direction.
Overall: 1. Gaurav Gill / Musa Sherif (Mahindra Adventure) (02mins, 34.7secs); 2. Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Mahindra Adventure) (02:35.1); 3. Karna Kadur / Nikhil Pai (Arka Motorsports) (02:36.1).
INRC-1: Gill / Sherif; 2. Ghosh / Naik; 3. Michu Ganapathy / Venu Rameshkumar (Team Champions) (02:45.9).
INRC-2: 1, Kadur / Pai; 2. Younus Ilyas / Harish KN (02:38.8); 3. Phalguna Urs / Srikanth Gowda (SNAP Racing) (02:39.2).
INRC-3: 1. Dhruva Chandrasekar / Arjun SSB (Team Champions) (02:36.6); 2. Dean Mascarenhas / Shruptha Padival (Team Champions) (02:37.5); 3. Aroor Vikram Rao / Somayya (Team Falkon) (02:39.7).
FMSCI 2WD Cup: 1. Adith KC / Suraj Keshava Prasad (Team Champions) (02:40.1); 2. Vikram Gowda / Sudheendra BG (Team Champions) (02:41.1); 3. Prakhyat Shirole / Bharath SM (02:43.2).
FMSCI 4WD Cup: 1. Sanjay Agarwal / Smitha Prasad (Team Champions) (02:46.5); 2 (Tie). Satish P Naidu / Sheraz Ahmed (Team Champions) (02:56.7) and Sachin Murthy / Satyapal (02:56.7).
(With inputs from agencies.)