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The 44th edition of the FMSCI INRC K1000 rally concluded in Bengaluru on the 24th of November 2019. We attended the two-day rally event organised by FMSCI and INRC along with the Champions Yacht Club held between the 23rd and 24th of November on the outskirts of Bangalore near the Khodays factory (Anekal Taluk).
About The INRC K1000 Rally
The two-day rally had four stages for each day. The stage course 1, 3 and 2, 4 were the same. However, drivers completed stage 1 and stage 2 individually while the 3rd and 4th stages were a combination of the first two - bringing the total race distance close to around 100km.
As per the drivers, the course combined sharp bends, narrow sections, up-hill blind corners and downhills. The rally course also had a rocky terrain, which made racing that much tougher.
The INRC K1000 Rally witnessed some of the most well-known drivers in the sport. This included the likes of Gaurav Gill (Arjuna Award winner) and his Navigator Musa Sherif. Other teams and competitors also included Amit Rajit Gosh, Ashwin Nayak, Dean Mascherenas, Fabid Ahmed, Chetan Shivram, Murthy P.V.S among many more.
The teams competing for the rally were Mahindra Adventure, Arka Racing, Snap Racing, Chettinad Sporting, Akshara Racing and others. The INRC K1000 Rally was categorized into six different groups and close to 55 participants competing in total.
First day of the event was flagged off with Gaurav Gill and his navigator Musa Sherif (Mahindra Adventure) being the first to enter stage 1, followed by Amittrajit Ghosh and his navigator Ashwin Naik (Mahindra Adventure). The ace driver Gaurav Gill took the lead at the end of stage 1 with a 28 second gap from Karna Kadur/Nikhil Pai (Arka Motorsports) in second. While Dr Bikku Babu/Milen George (Team Champions) won stage 2 with a gap of just a couple of seconds from Dean Mascarenhas/Shruptha Padival (Privateer).
Stage 3 of day 1, saw Gaurav Gill/Musa Sherif again leading the course by 20 seconds from Karna Kadur/Nikhil Pai. On the fourth and final stage for day 1 Karna Kadur / Nikhil Pai took the lead by 7.5 seconds from Dr. Bikku Babu/Milen George. The first day of rallying ended with Gaurav Gill leading the overall by 50 odd seconds.
Talking to DriveSpark at the end of day 1, Gaurav Gill, said, "The new venue is very challenging and proves to be the toughest rally stage in the calendar. The new venue for the K1000 rally offers a good mix of grippy and slippery surface with fast sections. We had some issues with the dampers and driveshaft so couldn't push the car much at certain parts of the stage. We are leading by 50 odd seconds and will hope to maintain the lead tomorrow."
We also got to speak to Amittrajit Ghosh, Mahindra Adventure, who said, "We are competing in this rally with the Mahindra XUV500, which is a big diesel SUV. The course is narrow and do not suit the car, but after what happened in Jodhpur, the team took a decision where Gaurav would be racing my car as he has a lot more points in the championship and has more chance of winning as well. We will wait and see what happens tomorrow."
Second day of the rally saw many participants suffering from a mechanical failure and not able to finish the rally. One among them was Gaurav Gill, who had to back out of the first stage after his super XUV300 rally car had mechanical issues which could not be fixed in time.
The first stage on day 2 was led by Dean Mascarenhas/Shruptha Padival but they failed to start the second stage due to a mechanical failure. This meant Younus Ilyas/Harish Gowda (Race Concepts Motorsports) took the lead in the second stage.
Fabid Ahmer/Sanath G (Team Champions) also ended up facing mechanical issues, having to settle for a DNF. This allowed Chetan Shivram/Dilip Sharan to take the lead in the 3rd and 4th stage of the rally, with Dr Bikku Babu/Milen George taking home second place. The second day saw almost 18 participants retire their cars due to various mechanical issues.
Talking to DriveSpark after an unfortunate day, Gaurav Gill's co-driver Musa Sherif, said, "We initially thought it was just a driveshaft issue, but with a detailed examination we found out that we also had transmission issues as well, which could not be repaired in time for the race. It is a day to forget, but we will come back strong for the next race."
We also had a chance to speak to Ashwin Nayak, co-driver Amittrajit Ghosh (Mahindra Adventure), said, "The stages were very narrow and the track became more challenging with lines formed. The Mahindra XUV500 is a big car and the track is very narrow, which was another challenge for me and Amit. But we managed to overcome these challenges and finish third overall, which is a good result considering we had the biggest car in the paddock with a diesel engine."
The INRC K1000 Rally in Bengaluru concluded with Chetan Shivram/Dilip Sharan from Akshara Racing taking the top step with a lead of 12.7 seconds. Dr. Bikku Babu/Milen George secured second place with an overall finish time of 1 hour, 47 minutes and 49.90 seconds. Amittrajit Ghosh/Ashwin Naik took the third spot overall with a finish time of 1 hour, 51 minutes and 4.3 seconds.
Thoughts About The 44th Edition Of INRC K1000 Rally
We sure were glad to see the event up-close. There were a lot of tight corners which saw the rally drivers taking the car sideways. The course was definitely a challenging one, but the competitors managed to entertain the crowd with high-speed cornering, jumps and sideways action. The rally course had some good spots to view the racing as well.