Kottayam, Dec 18 : A pumped-up and angry Gaurav Gill of Team MRF, following an early morning verbal altercation with rival Red Rooster Racing team, showed who the boss was as he took a firm grip on the overall title with a 25-second lead at the end of the second day in the Misty Meadows Rally of Kerala, the fifth round of the Speed-Indian National Rally Championship, here Saturday.
The 29-year old Gill from Delhi and the reigning national champion, virtually destroyed the challenge by setting up a scorching pace that he maintained through the five Special Stages to lead Red Rooster's Amittrajit Ghosh by 25 seconds with only the 3.28 Km Super Special Stage to be run Sunday.
"I would like to remain focused and the celebrations can wait," said a cautious Gill only too well aware of the vagaries of the sport that saw him sputter to a stop within 100 metres of the starts of the Super Special Stage at Nashik last year, leading to retirement.
With a better part of the Stages Sunday running downhill, Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) showcased his amazing car control besides customary daredevilry.
"I was angry over the issue of an unscheduled service break for tyre change this morning, something that I was not even aware of. I raised this issue with the Red Rooster guys and also informed the stewards. So, I guess, I was pumped up and charged," said Gill in a chat with IANS.
Overnight leader Ghosh (Ashwin Naik) began the day on the right note clocking the fastest time in the first Stage of the day as one of the tyres of Gill's Cedia (Group N+) suffered loss of air pressure.
"I lost some 10 seconds, but had it rectified at the service. Thereafter, I was determined to make up time on my rivals," said Gill who went on to dominate the rest of the Stages.
Behind Ghosh in third place was team-mate and championship leader V. R. Naren Kumar (D. Ram Kumar) followed by Vikram Mathias (P. V. S. Murthy).
In the 1400cc class, two leading lights from Kerala, Dr Bikku Babu (Vinod Gowda) and Bonnie Thomas (Jeevarathinam) dropped out in SS-7 and 5 respectively.
In the 2000cc (Group N) category, the Ovion Racing team pair of Girijashankar Joshy (Chandramouli M.) and Sujay Suresh (Bharat S. M.) led the field in that order while Bangalore's Rahul Kantharaj (Vivek Bhat) have virtually clinched the title with a four-minute lead over their nearest challenger.
Provisional Unaudited results (after Leg 2):
Overall / 2000cc (Group N+): 1. Gaurav Gill / Musa Sherif (Team MRF) 1hour, 13 minutes, 37.4 secs); 2. Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Red Rooster Racing) 1:14:02.4; 3. VR Naren Kumar / D Ram Kumar (Red Rooster Racing)
2000cc (Group N): 1. Girijashankar Joshy / Chandramouli M (Team Ovion) 1:20:42.4; 2. Sujay Suresh / Bharath SM (Team Ovion) 1:20: 43.5; 3. Sirish Chandran / Nikhil Pai (Team Overdrive) 1:25:51.3.
1600cc: 1. Rahul Kantharaj / Vivek Bhat (Pvt) 1:25:45.4; 2. Shailendra Hegde / Sheraz Ahmed (Pvt) 1:29:06.2; 3. Ranjit Gopinath / Suresh Babu (Pvt) 1:31:28.5.
1400cc: 1. Byram Godrej / Anjay Kapadia (Pvt) 1:27:28.2; 2. Balram CG / Raghuram CG (Pvt) 1:34:20.6; 3. Aniruddha Ranganathan / Halley Prabhakar (Pvt) 1:43:09.7.
Rally Star Cup: 1. Venkatapathy MR / Santosh Kumar S (Pvt) 1:27:49.4; 2. Phalguna V Urs / Anoop Kumar (Pvt) 1:28: 04.6; 3. Harikeshav N / Somayya AG (Pvt) 1:37:08.4.
Gypsy: 1. Amrinder Brar / Nilesh (Army Adventure Wing) 1:29:13.9; 2. Shakti Bajaj / Dharmesh Sinha (AAW) 1:38:03.0; 3. Elias Thomas Paarel / Thomas Phillip (Pvt) 1:39:59.8.(IANS)