The third round of the Yacht Club FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) is all set to take place this weekend in Jodhpur, and defending champion Gaurav Gill will be aiming to retain his title. The ace rally driver comes back for the domestic championship after a brilliant yet heartbreaking run in the WRC2 Rally of Turkey that saw the driver get a DNF after securing five out of nine podiums after a mechanical issue. Returning to INRC, Gill faces stiff competition from Dean Mascarenhas as well as Younus Ilyas. The Mahindra Adventure driver looked unbeatable in Coimbatore, having posted the fastest timings in the first three stages before having problems. Gill along with his co-driver Musa Sherif are currently placed fifth in the overall championship standings with 22 points.
The Rally of Jodhpur runs largely on gravel and will cover aobut 300 km over two days with 125 km of special stages. As many as 53 teams will be in action as the rally provides a good opportunity to put their cars and skills to test.
Meanwhile, Team Champions' Mascarenhas with co-driver Shruptha Padival were dominant from the start of the championship. The team won the opening round, and had an impressive run in Round 2 as well, finishing 10th overall, jumping 32 places. They were also placed second in the INRC2 category. Mascarenhas and Padival are currently placed second on the leaderboard with 42 points.
Making this a three-way competition will be the Race Concepts driver Younus Ilyas from Kochi with co-driver Harish Gowda, who has been stellar form. The driver missed the top spot by just 04.600s in Round 2, while winning in the INRC2 category. In INRC, Ilyas and Gowda are placed fourth on the leaderboard with 31 points.
Also looking to maintain momentum will be the Shivram brothers Chetan and Dilip. The Akshara Racing driver surprised everyone in the last round by winning the overall title as well as his own INRC 3 category, surging ahead as his contenders faced one issue after another.
Fabid Ahmer with Sanath G of Team Champions are also on the watch list after being the surprise package this year. Fabid managed to slowly claw his way up to the lead in the championship standings with 49 points and also leads the INRC3 category with 69 points. In addition, Suhem Kabeer with Jeeva Rathnam has shown a lot of promise after running in contention for the podium before being stuck in slush that saw him lose six minutes. He is currently placed seventh overall. In INRC 4, Vaibhav Marate remains unbeaten across both rounds. He tops the charts with 79 points and will be looking to extend his lead in Jodhpur.