The second of three major cross-country rallies sponsored by Maruti-Suzuki, the ninth edition of the Dakshin Dare, was flagged off at Bengaluru's Orion Mall today.
A field of 36 drivers in the Ultimate Cars class, led by Suresh Rana and co-driver Ashwin Naik's Grand Vitara will compete in the rally that kicks off its competitive stages tomorrow to conclude in Pune on the 21st.
TVS Racing's Tanveer Abdul Wahid and R Nataraj headline the 31 riders in the Ultimate Bikes category.
However, there are noticeable absences in both the four and two-wheel classes, with many competitors who took part in the Desert Storm and India Baja preparing and conserving their machines for the Raid de Himalaya, which will be held in October.
Among the four-wheelers, Raj Singh Rathore and his Isuzu D-Max V-Cross will not be among the competitors. And among the two-wheelers, TVS Racing's Aravind KP and Hero MotoSports Rally's CS Santosh are absentees as the two prepare for their participation in international cross-country events ahead of January's Dakar Rally.
The total distance (transport plus special stages) of 2,200km will be conducted over five legs.
The first leg will take the rally from Bengaluru to Chitradurga.
The second leg will run in stages within Chitradurga before the third leg advances the course of the rally to Belgaum.
The fourth leg will take the rally into Maharashtra as the route runs from Belgaum to Kohlapur. The fifth and final leg will run from Pune to Kohlapur.
The final results will be confirmed on the 22nd along with the prize distribution.