Chennai, Apr 28 (PTI) Defending champion Gaurav Gill asserted his supremacy to take a lead on day one today in the MRF 40th South India Rally, the opening round of the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship 2018 at the MMRT track at nearby Sriperumbudur.
Gill, along with co-driver Musa Sherif survived an early scare with the brakes on his Super XUV 500 before slowly coming into his own and winning the last four stages.
The Team Mahindra Adventure pair needed just 44 minutes and 35 seconds to complete the day"s five stages, including one SSS, and stay ahead of the pack.
Five drivers are within striking distance of Gill.
INRC-2 competitors, Younus Ilyas and Harish Kumar (Team Younus Ilyas) were snapping at his heels all through the day, taking the second position with an impressive timing of 45:39.5.
They were just a little over a minute behind Gill.
They showed a lot of speed and power in the first two stages to build up an early advantage, slipped a little in the third and the fourth stages, but recovered again in the fifth to hold on to second position overnight.
Karna Kadur and Nikhil V Pai (INRC 2;Arka Motorsports) and Amittrajit Ghosh and Ashwin Naik (INRC;Mahindra Adventure) took the third and fourth places.
The day began with a surprise as veteran rallyist Vicky Chandhok took advantage of his knowledge of MMRT to upstage a 31-strong field of young drivers in the SSS on tarmac.
Chandhok, making a comeback after 18 years at the age of 61, cracked the course in 2 minutes flat, which was 3 seconds faster than even Gill.
Gill, however, took the setback in his stride as his Super XUV 500 is not suited for the race track, and reclaimed the advantage in the next stage itself.
Results (leaders after Day 1): INRC: 1.Gaurav Gill/Musa Sherif (Team Mahindra Adventure) 44:35.0 mins; 2. Younus Ilyas/Harish Kumar (Team Younus Ilyas) 45:39.5 mins; 3.Karna Kadur/Nikhil V Pai (Arka Motorsports) 45:44.2 mins.
INRC 2: 1.Younus Ilyas/Harish Kumar (Team Younus Ilyas)" 45:39.5 mins; 2.Karna Kadur/Nikhil V Pai (Arka Motorsports) 45:44.2 mins; 3. Rahul Kanthraj/Vivek Y Bhatt (Arka Motorsports) 46:57.7 mins.
INRC 3: 1. Dean Mascarenhas/Shruptha Padival (Falkon Motorsports) 45:51.1 mins; 2. Aroor Vikram Rao/Somayya A G (Falkon Motorsports) 46:10.2 mins; 3. Chetan Shivram/Rupesh Kholay (Team Akshara) " 46:16.4 mins.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI