Pune: Punctures, rain, fog, new routes and to top it all a close fight for the first time till the last stage: that was how Suresh Rana and Ashwin Naik spent their last five days, ultimately clinching the title at the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare Cross-Country Rally that concluded in Pune.
Multi-time Raid de Himalaya winner Rana, 10 to be precise, was all calm and composed as he and Ashwin Naik took to the stage to receive the award as participants and members of the motorsports community cheered them for yet another title.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Rana shared his experience of the Dakshin Dare rally, that for the first time forayed into Maharashtra.
“The experience has been a fantastic one. The route was new which we enjoyed a lot. We had a tough and close fight which went on till the last leg of the event. Otherwise the results are almost declared on the fourth day itself. In this rally we came to know about the results only on the last day,” Rana pointed out.
When quizzed about how different was this edition, Rana said “Because of active monsoon there was a lot of rain and at many places there was a lot of fog. At some places it was also slushy and that made this rally experience different from the rest.
“The stages were also long There was a stage of 72 kilometres which was full of tarmac. It was one flowing stage. That was a stage I think we enjoyed a lot.”
Speaking about the rally experience Rana said “When we started Leg 1, the only thing which was on our mind was to defend our title. We had a strategy in place right from the start. We suffered three punctures which were back to back because of which we went down a little in the standings and were on the fourth position. From there we made it up. We drove 6 to 7 kilometres on a flat tyre which was little difficult. But overall it was a smooth affair.”