Tampin (Malaysia), July 7 (IANS) India’s Lohit V. Urs claimed his maiden international title when he won the second round of the AAM Malaysian Rally Championship here over the weekend driving an Isuzu D-Max.
Urs, the 29-year old from Mysore, who drives for Team MRF in the Indian National Rally Championship, and co-driver M. Chandramouli survived a stiff battle with overnight leader Chong Wee Siang by putting to good use his vast experience in slippery conditions following rains.
“I am absolutely elated. It was a tough race, but we kept pushing to the end. I am glad Isuzu gave me a really fantastic car. This is the best rally car I have driven. It is so powerful and tough. I am definitely coming back to drive the D-Max,” said Urs.
With the win, Urs heads the championship table with 21 points while William Mei stayed in touch with 18. Lim dropped to third with 15 points.
The dry weather preceding the event rendered the roads hard and dusty. The four-car Isuzu D-Max team set the early pace with Siang leading Urs by a minute at the end of the 29 km long first Special Stage.
On conclusion of the day’s only other stage, 29 km, through rubber plantation and the smoother roads, Siang led Urs by half-a-minute.
The following day, with heavy rain, the character of the event underwent a dramatic change as many of the open areas became sodden and soft. The 50 km long special stage-3 caused confusion due to an error in the tulip and most of the cars were lost after 10 km.
The resultant error saw crews scrambling to find the correct route. Lim Seng Hai, in an effort to beat the clock, came barrelling down a steep hill while back-tracking and his Mitsubishi Triton met with Mei’s D-Max head-on.
The Mitsubishi driver tried to avoid a collision but the rear end of the Triton clipped Mei’s front bumper. The impact tore the rear suspension off its mounting, crippling the Mitsubishi and leaving the championship leader stranded in the stage.
The organizers cancelled the stage and the remaining crews drove out to the service park where Mei’s D-Max was thankfully found to only suffer a broken headlight and a cracked bumper.
SS-4 was a repeat of SS-1 but conditions had changed drastically with the rain. Siang decided that caution was the better part of valour while Urs, sensing an opportunity, pushed his D-Max hard, passing Chong in the stage to claim his first international win ahead of Siang.
Gunaseelan Rajoo continued to learn the car and claimed a deserving third position, giving Isuzu its clean sweep of the podium positions.
“The result is better than we expected. All our D-Max finished well in the tough event which proves the durability and reliability of our Isuzu products under extreme conditions. The number of competitors switching their vehicles for the D-Max is also acknowledgement that it is the right product when you want a winner,” said CEO of Isuzu Malaysia Takashi Hata.