Motorsport: Lohitt Urs surges ahead
Mysuru-based Lohitt V. Urs and co-driver Shrikant Gowda from Bengaluru took virtually a winning lead of over one minute after defending champion Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) retired with a drive shaft problem at the end of Leg 1 in the Rally of Coimbatore, the third round of the FMSCI Indian Rally Championship, here on Friday.
Driving a Mitsubishi Evo VIII, Urs, returning to National rallying scene after a year’s break, was involved in a neck-and-neck battle with Mahindra Adventure’s Delhi-based Gill, the reigning National champion who was in a Mahindra XUV 500. The two were tied after the first loop, but the battle fizzled out when Gill, after making six seconds in the day’s penultimate Stage, packed up in the fourth Stage.
In second Overall position was Mangaluru’s Arjun Rao Aroor (Satish Rajagopal) of AR Racing in the Volkswagen Polo R2. Though Rao lost time due to a puncture in the last Stage, he still finished the day with a lead of one minute, 29.5 seconds over Mahindra Adventure’s Amittrajit Ghosh of Kolkata and his partner Ashwin Naik (Mangaluru), driving the XUV 500.
Gill, winner of the previous round in Nashik, will be rejoining the Rally on Saturday under the Super Rally format in a bid to secure leg points. “It was bad luck, but I will drive tomorrow and hope to get some leg points,” said a dejected Gill. “It was a close battle with Gaurav, and when I saw him parked in the day’s last stage, I eased off. I am happy with my Evo, but my focus is on the season’s last rally in December in Chikmagalur which is hosting the APRC Asia Cup, by which time, the car will be in top shape,” said Urs.
Meanwhile Bengaluru pair of Rahul Kanthraj and Vivek Bhatt in Team Yokohama’s Mitsubishi Cedia, looked certain to clinch their second success of the season in the IRC 2000 class.