Chikmagalur: Karna Kadur and his co-driver Nikhil Vittal Pai of Arka Motorsports scored their third consecutive overall win in the Coffee Day India Rally, the fourth round of the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship, here on Monday.
While Karna, who had won this rally in the previous two years, kept it clean through the three Special Stages on Monday, Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driver Ashwin Naik) of Mahindra Adventure brushed off a five-second overnight deficit to finish second Overall ahead of Bopaiah KM (Gagan Karumbaiah) of Team Champions to pick up valuable championship points.
Behind the trio, hot favourite Gaurav Gill (Musa Sherif), also of Mahindra Adventure set a scorching pace to top the timesheets in all the three Stages. He finished fifth Overall behind private entrants Younus Illyas (Harish KN) and second in the INRC-1 category. More importantly, he earned 10 championship points.
The results meant that Amittrajit continues to lead Overall in the Indian National Rally Championship, promoted by the Ramakrishna Race Performance Management, with 79 points as against Karna's 67 and Gill's 60.
Thus, the title will be decided in the fifth and concluding round of the Championship to be held in Kerala next month.
Amittrajit and Karna also topped the INRC-1 and INRC-2 categories, respectively, while Delhi's Arjun Bani Rao (Milen George) won in the INRC-3 class as the three-day event, organised by the Motor Sports Club of Chikmagalur, concluded here on Monday.
"The result did not surprise us considering the lead that we had overnight. So, there was no need to push today and I was intent on bringing the car back home safely. We backed off a bit, used the advantage we had and finished the three Stages safely. We are very happy that we won for the third time in a row here in Chikmagalur," Karna said.
Meanwhile, Amittrajit, still to recover fully from an allergy that also hampered his breathing, said he was happy to have finished second which fetched him precious championship points.
"Today, we decided to take it easy in the long stage and push in the two shorter stages. In the context of the championship, it is always good to have points in the bag. So, now, whoever among the three of us (Karna and Gill being the others) wins in Kerala will emerge champion," said the London-based Amittrajit.