The final round of the Champions Yacht Club FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) concluded on Sunday bring an end to the action-packed season. India's ace rally driver Gaurav Gill won the 2019 Popular Rally, dominating the rally for the fifth time. However, making a storming comeback was Chetan Shivram who returned to complete the rally after a crash on Saturday and claim his maiden INRC crown. Shivram along with his co-driver Dilip Sharan was one of the casualties of the multiple crashes on Saturday but worked on his rally-spec Volkswagen Polo overnight to stage a strong return on Sunday.
The driver was already leading the championship overall when he entered the Popular Rally, thanks to his wins in the Rally of Coimbatore and the K1000 Bengaluru. On Sunday, Shivram completes three stages on Day 2 to protect his lead and score three points that helped the driver take his first-ever INRC title with 78 points.
Meanwhile, Gaurav Gill showcased why he is the best there is. Gill with co-driver Musa Sherif had an extremely challenging season and ended the curtains on the rally by winning six special stages (SS) on Day 1, followed by victory in SS9 and finishing second in SS10 and SS11. Coming in second was Bikku Babu, who topped the INRC 2 class, while Team Mahindra's Dean Mascarenhas and Suhem Kabeer finished third and fourth respectively in the Popular Rally's overall category.
Team Akshara's Chetan took the 10th position in SS9 but revved up to the fifth in the last two stages for a valiant show. The drivers could not secure their second crown in INRC 2 though as drivers Fabid Ahmer and Sanath G beat him to the post. Fabid finished second behind Aditya Thakur and Virender Kashyap, which was enough to push Chetan from the top.
In the INRC 4 category, Suraj George with co-driver emerged at the top followed by Vaibhav Marathe and co-driver Arjun SSB finishing second. Rakshith Iyer and Chandrashekhar finished third in the category.
Results (INRC Round 5)
1. Gaurav Gill/Musa Sherif - 1:25:01.7 hour
2. Dr. Bikku Babu/Milen George - 1:29:16.300 hour
3. Dean Mascarenhas/Shrupta Padivel - 1:31:02.600 hour
1. Dr. Bikku Babu/Milen George - 1:29:16.300 hour
2. Dean Mascarenhas/Shrupta Padivel - 1:31:02.600 hour;
3. Suhem Kabeer/Jeeva Rathinam - 1:31:22.000 hour
1. Aditya Thakur/Virender Kashyap - 1:34:11.300 hour
2. Fabid Ahmer/Sanath G - 1:34:38.900 hour
3. Jacob K.J/Murthy PVS - 1:34:46.300 hour
1. Suraj Thomas/Shob George - 1:35:02.500 hour
2. Vaibhav Marathe/ Arjun SSB - 1:37:55.000 hour
3. Rakshith Iyer/Chandrashekhar - 1:38:51.400 hour