by IANS |
Chennai, April 25 (IANS) Bengaluru's Karna Kadur and co-driver Nikhil Pai (Arka Motorsports) emerged triumphant in a disqualification-marred MRF 45th South India Rally, which doubled up as the first round of the FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship 2022 at the MMRT circuit in Sriperumbudur.
Kadur put his right foot down when it mattered most, in the last of the nine Special Stages on Sunday as he beat the ever-charging Dean Mascarenhas (co-driver Gagan Karumbaiah, Kodagu) by 4.6 seconds after a see-saw battle.
But controversy struck soon after as Mascarenhas, who had finished second Overall behind Kadur and first in INRC-2 category, was disqualified by stewards as his car did not comply with technical regulations during post-event scrutiny.
The 2021 National champion Aditya Thakur (Virender Kashyap) of Chettinad Sporting, who had finished third Overall behind Mascarenhas, was promoted to second position behind Kadur.
Earlier Kadur, the winner of the Asia Cup round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship at the same venue four weeks back, stretched the overnight lead over Mascarenhas from 2.9 seconds to 4.9.
However, Mascarenhas charged back in SS-7 by making six seconds on Kadur to take a 2.9 secs lead, while Thakur was content to hold position in third.
After the service break, Kadur was at full throttle to make 2.6 seconds on Mascarenhas in SS-8 for a slender 1.7 secs lead going into the final Stage. The Bengaluru driver then went even quicker to put another 2.9 secs over Mascarenhas to clinch the Overall title for a winning start to the 2022 season.
A relieved but happy Kadur said, "Yes, it was a close finish, and we are happy to win. We had some ongoing issues over the weekend, but we managed to nurse the car to the finish as we had no time to sort out or figure out the problems."
When asked about his feelings at the start of the final Stage with just 1.7 seconds lead, Kadur said, "Dean and I were actually sitting together and having a good laugh as the start of the Stage was delayed by about half-an-hour. But I knew I had something in reserve for the final push. I kept my calm and did what I had to do to win."
Later on Sunday, the stewards disqualified six competitors whose cars did not comply with technical regulations during post-event scrutiny. The final results were accordingly revised and those who had finished behind the disqualified competitors moved up a spot in the final classification of the event. Mascarenhas was the biggest loser of them all.
Chandigarh's Jahaan Singh Gill (Suraj Keshava Prasad, Bengaluru) of SNAP Racing, who took the honours in the INRC-3 and Junior INRC categories, was also disqualified later on Sunday.
The revised final classifications:
Overall / INRC: 1. Karna Kadur / Nikhil Pai (both Bengaluru, Arka Motorsports) (01Hr, 44mins, 52.700secs); 2. Aditya Thakur / Virender Kashyap (both Himachal, Chettinad Sporting) (01:45:50.600); 3. Chetan Shivram / Dilip Sharan (both Bengaluru, SNAP Racing) (01:47:51.800).
INRC-2: 1. Thakur / Kashyap (01:45:50.600); 2. Shivram / Sharan (01:47:51.800); 3. Harikrishan Wadia (Delhi) / Amber Udasi (Chandigarh, Arka Motorsports) (01:49:29.700).
INRC-3: 1. Kuber Sharma / Kunal Kashyap (both Himachal) (01:49:25.200); 2. Daraius Neville Shroff (Delhi) / Arjun Dheerendra (Bengaluru, Slideways Industries) (01:50:15.200); 3. Aniruddh Ranganekar (Mumbai) / Milen George (Kottayam, Slideways Industries) (01:53:34.700).
INRC-4 (1 finisher): 1. Rupesh Kholay / Varun Satyanarayan (both Bengaluru) (02:01:45.000).
Junior INRC (2 finishers): Shivani Pruthvi / Deepti Pruthvi (both Davangere) (01:54.15.500); 2. Pragati Gowda / Trisha Jagannath (both Bengaluru, Arka Motorsports) (02:28:24.600).