Ahluwalia wins 2017 Arunachal Festival of Speed
Former national rally champion Amanpreet Ahluwalia claimed a dominant win in the 2017 edition of JK Tyre Arunachal Festival of Speed last weekend.
Spread over three days in the picturesque Dirang Valley, the Arunachal Festival of Speed is an annual off-road event comprising of Auto Cross, Rally Sprint and Hill Climb stages.
Ahluwalia and his co-driver Ajay Kumar won eight of the 10 stages, completing the event with a total time of 1hr00m02s
The Noida-based rallyist, who has a network of tuning shops, believed the work he put in in modifying his Gypsy proved pivotal in his victory.
“I worked on it for three months, and was managing to produce close to 150-odd bhp power that is pretty good for a gypsy,” he said. “I guess that was the only good and best part of my car: the engine."
Coorg’s KM Bopaiah (co-driver Gagan Karumbaiah) won the final stage, but finished 27 seconds adrift of Ahluwalia in the overall standings.
“I gave it my all in the Special Stages. But I guess my car wasn’t suited for some of the rough terrains and the uphill climbs,” Bopaiah, who was driving a Vento, said.
Sandeep Kumar (co-driver Prathap Thakur), a seasoned cross-country rally driver, claimed the final spot on the podium, despite driving a stock car. He completed the event in 1hr02m09s, 2m07s behind winner Ahluwalia.
“I knew I had a huge disadvantage,” he said. “But I pushed myself and my car to our limits today as I firmly believe that that’s the only thing that counts, not where you finish.”
Baljit Singh (co-driver Phobe Dale Nongrum) and Shahid Khan (co-driver Phurpa Tseing) were classified fourth and fifth respectively, separated by just over a minute.
In the local Autocross event, Babit Lyngdoh emerged victorious with a time of 9m25s, while Amitabh Indar and Kevin Puro occupied the other two spots on the podium.
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