Delhi’s Gagan Sethi claimed the top prize in the 2018 edition of the JK Tyre Hornbill Rally in Nagaland on Monday.
Held during Nagaland’s famous Hornbill festival, the TSD rally was flagged off by multiple National Rally Champion Hari Singh and the stages featured seven surprise time controls.
Competitors started from the Indira Gandhi Stadium and traversed through tricky terrain outside of the state’s capital Kohima, before crossing the finishing line in Kisama village.
Sethi (co-driver Sabatullah Khan) was declared winner in the open category after finishing the 55-km event with a mere time penalty of 29 seconds.
He dedicated the victory to his wife, having won the event on their anniversary.
"It was a difficult rally and I was facing a lot of problems with the car,” he said. “But my navigator was brilliant and he helped us cruise past the field to claim the title.
"Even though we were driving together for the first time, we hit it off instantly and our coordination was really very great."
Gagan Sethi and Sabatullah Khan
Photo by: JK Tyre Racing
Bijo Awom (navigator Chandrasekhar) was classified second with a total time penalty of 1m44s, while Taki Alang (navigator Nirav Mehta) occupied the final spot on the podium.
Alex Suohu clinched top honours in the North East class ahead of second-placed Thezakkielie Zuyie and third-placed Anguzo Sekhose.
The event was held under the presence of Nagaland’s chief minister Shri Neiphiu Rio.
"I am really thankful to JK Tyres for their support in promoting motorsports in the country,” he said.
“The CMD of the company Dr. Raghupati Singhania reposed his faith in us and we shall walk together to make Nagaland the new motorsports hub of the country.”