While Gaurav Gill spearheads team Mahindra Adventure’s relentless pursuit of leading the 2018 Dakshin Dare rally, team Maruti Suzuki Motorsport continue to improve upon their results with each passing stage in the competition.
The 10th edition of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare, which started on 3rd September 2018, is inching closer to its conclusion as Day 3 and Day 4 offered some spectacular rallying action across the muddy and gruesome terrains of Karnataka and Maharashtra. The third leg, which began and culminated on Wednesday, 5th September, consisted of four-wheel competitors traversing four special stages, almost entirely over dirt and gravel terrain. On Day 3, drivers covered a total stage distance of 89km whereas Day 4 comprised of a relatively shorter leg of 66km.
Proceedings for team Mahindra Adventure remained more or less the same as during the previous two days as Gaurav Gill held on to his top spot on the leader board. Gill, along with co-driver Musa Sherif, played it safe throughout the four special stages and held on to his lead. He ended leg three with a total time of 04:59:45 which provided a safe cushion of approximately 8 minutes over his team-mate Philippos Mathai who finished second with a cumulative time of 05:07:15.
Amiitrajit Ghosh and co-driver Ashwin Naik suffered a puncture on Day three which resulted in Ghosh losing approximately four minutes. Maruti Suzuki’s Sandeep Sharma took advantage of this and clinched the third spot while Ghosh had to settle for fourth. Following Ghosh, Samrat Yadav brought home his S-Cross with a total time of 5:19;29 and finished fifth.
In the Ultimate Bikes category, Yuva Kumar maintained his flawless run record and sat atop the leader board unchallenged, with a total time of 3:47:27. Behind him by 00:02:28, Aakash Aithal also retained his second position. However, the last spot on the podium was taken away from Aravind DS by Jatin Jain.
On Day 4, Dakshin Dare left Karnataka and headed for Maharashtra where leg 4 began on a tarmac stage. Like Day 3, Day 4 too consisted of three special stages, each running a distance of 22km. While the top two spots were retained once again by Gill and Mathai for team Mahindra Adventure, the day’s focus was on team Maruti Suzuki’s Samrat Yadav and the battle for fourth between Sandeep Sharma and Amittrajit Ghosh.
Samrat Yadav took full advantage of the leg’s tarmac start and put in some quick stage times which, at the end of the day, allowed him to clinch the final spot in the top three with a cumulative time of 06:02:25. However, Yadav’s attack had picked up pace on Day 3 itself as he had been able to better Gill’s individual stage time twice in a row during the last two stages. He was able to repeat this in the first special stage of Day 4 as well.
The fight between Sandeep and Amittrajit, however, ended in a disaster for the latter as he was ruled out with a DNF, due to a damage in his fuel coupler just three kilometres before the third and final stage of the day. While Sandeep clinched the position from Ghosh, he could not maintain his pace of the previous two days. As a result, he ended the day in fourth position with a cumulative time of 6:05:37, still in sight of the podium.
In the bike category, Yuva Kumar and Aakash Aithal once again continued to be on the first and second positions, respectively, while it was Vinay Prasad this time who took the final spot in the top three. Vishwas SD started and ended the day in fourth position.
With just the final leg of Dakshin Dare 2018 left to go, Mahindra’s lead seems to be indomitable at the moment. However, team Maruti Suzuki has in no way hung up the boots yet. Ultimately, the final results will come right down to the wire if things are to progress in the same manner.