The Coffee Day Rally held in the scenic locations and coffee plantations of Chikmagalur, Karnataka marked the end of the 2015 season of the FMSCI Indian Rally Championship (IRC). Lohit Urs, the Mysore-based rally ace, finished the rally in the second position overall to win the FIA Asia Cup and the national title for the 2015 season. Gaurav Gill, who could not defend his championship owing to a number of DNFs (Did not Finish), ended the season with a high after defeating Lohit in the last round.
Lohit , piloting a Mitsubishi Evo VIII and navigated by Shrikant Gowda, had been performing consistently through the season driving the all-wheel-drive rally car to its strengths. In spite of the setup issues in the beginning, Lohit said he was delighted to be crowned the champion as they got things right over time.
Gaurav delivered yet another flawless drive across the challenging and technical stages to keep the Mahindra super-XUV in the lead despite losing as much as 40 seconds due to mechanical issues. But it was Dean Mascarenhas who surprised everyone with a spirited drive fighting it out with veteran Karna Kadur. Driving a 1600cc Volkswagen Polo, Dean almost matched Gaurav‘s pace and went faster than the Evo. But as we all know, rallying is not only about going flat out and Dean incurred a 60 second penalty for checking in early at the time control. He finishes second in the 1600cc category (39 seconds behind Karna Kadur) and fifth overall (exactly 60 seconds behind Amitrajit Ghosh).
Team Yokohama got great results as the seasoned campaigner Rahul Kantharaj drove his Mitsubishi Cedia to victory in the 2000cc class. Karna, also from team Yokohama, won the 1600 cup after championship leader Dr. Bikku Babu retired on Saturday and Dean was penalised.
The IRC season encompasses five to six rallies held across the country with different categories like the FIA Asia Cup, IRC cup, 2000cc cup, 1600cc cup and the FMSCI cup for rookies. The next season will start in mid 2016 with possibly the opening round being the Rally of Maharashtra.