Here's a look at the results after two legs of the 10th Dakshin Dare rally.
The 10th edition of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare will cover over 2,000 kilometres of rallying and will traverse through the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa. The first leg, which began on Monday, the 3rd of September, saw the four-wheel and two-wheel competitors battling it out across three special stages, consisting of dirt and gravel. On Day 1, the Ultimate Cars category covered a total distance of 129.63km, whereas the riders of the Ultimate Bikes category covered a total distance of 86.42km across two special stages.
Three-time APRC champion Gaurav Gill gave an exemplary performance to race ahead of the pack on the opening day. Gill and his co-driver Musa Sherif, who compete for Team Mahindra Adventure in the hardcore SuperXUV, ended all three special stages of Day 1 at the top of the timing sheets. Their total time at the end of the day was 2:25:47. Approximately five minutes behind Gill and Sherif was teammate Philippos Matthai (with navigator VVS Moorthy) who came in second after clocking a time of 2:30:19. The third position was also secured by team Mahindra Adventure as Amittrajit Ghosh and Ashwin Naik finished just 5 seconds behind Matthai.
Speaking of his overnight lead in the rally, Gill said, ‘We were not aware of the terrain and there was a lot of gravel on the tracks. I usually scorch the track, but here I had to be cautious and slide through the corners rather than coming in fast.’
Meanwhile, Team Maruti Suzuki's defending champion Suresh Rana ended the day in fourth place, as he suffered a puncture during the initial minutes of Special Stage One (SS1), which lost him nearly seven minutes on Day 1.
In the two-wheeler category, Yuva Kumar took the opening day’s top honours, with a time of 1:43:30. Vishwas SD finished in second place by clocking a time of 1:48:22, while Aakash Aithal took the third position with a total time of 1:49:29.
In the second leg, Sandeep Sharma and Suresh Rana attempted a fightback for Team Maruti Suzuki Motorsport, by taking the fourth and sixth positions after Day 2, which ended on Tuesday evening.
While Sandeep and his co-driver, Anmol Rampal, clocked 58.09 minutes in three Special Stages and one Super Special Stage, for a cumulative timing of 03:35:05 over the first two days, five-time Dakshin Dare champion Suresh Rana, with co-driver Chirag Thakur, finished in sixth position after starting in 11th. Rana, who fell behind after a puncture on Day 1, caught up by posting times in the top three.
‘I didn’t have the best of starts to the rally. But I’m glad that I could get back into the fray. Our team (Maruti Suzuki) has its hopes pinned on me and I’m quite sure that I’ll keep improving and fight till the end to defend my title,’ Rana said.
Mahindra Adventure’s Gaurav Gill remained on top of the leaderboard after yet another power-packed performance. His teammate Philippos Matthai, with navigator PVS Moorthy, finished Day 2 in second place, with a total time of 03:26:03. Amittrajit Ghosh and Ashwin Naik suffered a loss of six minutes during the early part of the stage, which handed them third place.
Yuva Kumar continued to lead in the bike category, winning two of the day’s stages and finishing second in the third. Aakash Aithal and Vishwas SD swapped positions after Day 2 as Aithal finished second and Vishwas took the third position.