Karna Kadur wins MRF 45th South India Rally

Karna Kadur (right) and co-driver Nikhil Pai with trophies after winning the MRF 45th South India Rally (April 24)
  • Karna Kadur snatches dramatic win in a tight finish
  • Dean Mascarenhas tops INRC-2 category

Chennai, April 24: Bengalureans 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 today.

Kadur put his right foot down when it mattered most, in the last of the nine Special Stages, today as he beat the ever-charging Mangalurean Dean Mascarenhas (co-driver Gagan Karumbaiah, Kodagu) 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 seconds 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 position in third. Meanwhile, fancied Fabid Ahmer (Sanath G) from Palakkad, who was lying fourth overnight, retired due to a mechanical failure.

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. The Bangalurean 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.

Karna Kadur, Overall winner of MRF 45th South India Rally (April 24)

While he finished second in Overall classification, Mascarenhas topped the INRC-2 category ahead of Thakur and Kodagu’s Suhem Kabeer (Jeeva Rathinam, Bengaluru).

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.”

Chandigarh’s Jahaan Singh Gill (Suraj Keshava Prasad, Bengaluru) of SNAP Racing, took the honours in the INRC-3 and Junior INRC categories. Bengaluru’s Prakhyat Shirole (Supreet S) topped the INRC-4 class while Himanshu Arora from Delhi (Vikram Thakur, Chandigarh) won in the non-championship FMSCI Gypsy Challenge category.

Provisional classification (After Leg-2):

Overall / INRC: 1. Karna Kadur / Nikhil Pai (both Bengaluru, Arka Motorsports) (01Hr, 44mins, 52.700secs); 2. Dean Mascarenhas (Mangaluru) / Gagan Karumbaiah (Kodagu) (01:44:57.300); 3. Aditya Thakur / Virender Kashyap (both Himachal, 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 (Kodagu) / Jeeva Rathinam (Bengaluru) (01:46:38.400).

INRC-3: 1. Jahaan Singh Gill (Chandigarh) / Suraj Keshava Prasad (Bengaluru, SNAP Racing) (01:48:51.500); 2. Kuber Sharma / Kunal Kashyap (both Himachal) (01:49:25.200); 3. Daraius Neville Shroff (Delhi) / Arjun Dheerendra (Bengaluru, Slideways Industries) (01:50:15.200).

INRC-4: 1. Prakhyat Shirole / Supreet S (both Bengaluru) (01:55:23.200); 2. Yeshwanth Padala (Hyderabad) / Bharath SM (Bengaluru) (01:56:25.100); 3. Rupesh Kholay / Varun Satyanarayan (both Bengaluru) (02:01:45.000).

Junior INRC: 1. Jahaan Gill / Suraj (01:48:41.500); 2. Arnav Pratap Singh (Delhi) / Arjun SSB (Bengaluru, SNAP Racing) (01:50:47.400); Shivani Pruthvi / Deepti Pruthvi (both Davangere) (01:54.15.500).

Fmsci Gypsy Cup: 1. Himamshu Arora (Delhi) / Vikram Thakur (Chandigarh) (02:00:16.200); 2. Darshan Nachappa (Bengaluru) / S Dinesh (Shivamogga, Ammyfield Rallying) (02:03:38.900); 3. Rajeev Yadav (Gurugram) / Mohit Malik (Faridabad) (02:07:55.300).

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