Karna Kadur and co-driver Nikhil Pai (Arka Motorsports) survived a titanic battle to win the MRF 45th South India Rally which doubled up as the first round of the Blue Band Sports FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship 2022, here on Sunday.
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) by 4.6 seconds after a see-saw battle.
The 2021 National champion Aditya Thakur (Virender Kashyap) of Chettinad Sporting did just enough to finish third overall, some 53.3 seconds behind Mascarenhas.
Winner of the Asia Cup round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship at the same venue four weeks back, Kadur, who enjoyed a 2.9 second overnight lead over Mascarenhas, stretched the gap by another two in Sunday’s first Stage (SS-6).
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 the third position.
After the service break, Kadur was at full throttle to make 2.6sec on Mascarenhas in SS-8 for a slender 1.7 secs lead going into the final stage. He 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.
Provisional classification (After Leg-2): Overall & INRC: 1. Karna Kadur & Nikhil Pai (Arka Motorsports) (01Hr, 44mins, 52.700secs); 2. Dean Mascarenhas & Gagan Karumbaiah (01:44:57.300); 3. Aditya Thakur & Virender Kashyap (Chettinad Sporting) (01:45:50.600).
INRC-2: 1. Mascarenhas & Karumbaiah (01:44:57.300); 2. Thakur & Kashyap (01:45:50.600); 3. Suhem Kabeer & Jeeva Rathinam (01:46:38.400).
INRC-3: 1. Jahaan Singh Gill & Suraj Keshava Prasad (SNAP Racing) (01:48:51.500); 2. Kuber Sharma & Kunal Kashyap (01:49:25.200); 3. Daraius Neville Shroff & Arjun Dheerendra (Slideways Industries) (01:50:15.200).
INRC-4: 1. Prakhyat Shirole & Supreet S (01:55:23.200); 2. Yeshwanth Padala & Bharath SM (01:56:25.100); 3. Rupesh Kholay & Varun Satyanarayan (02:01:45.000).
Junior INRC: 1. Jahaan Gill & Suraj (01:48:41.500); 2. Arnav Pratap Singh & Arjun SSB (SNAP Racing) (01:50:47.400); Shivani Pruthvi & Deepti Pruthvi (01:54.15.500).
FMSCI Gypsy Cup: 1. Himamshu Arora & Vikram Thakur (02:00:16.200); 2. Darshan Nachappa & S Dinesh (Ammyfield Rallying) (02:03:38.900); 3. Rajeev Yadav & Mohit Malik (02:07:55.300).