Panaji: As the name suggests, Monsoon Challenge lives up to its nomenclature to a major extent so much so that whatever may be the forecast during this time of the year, clouds open up at any given time of the day.
Passing through the hills leading to Shimoga, Jog and Karvar was like driving on a butter-such a smooth tarmac roads that have become extinct in most part of the country.
“This a such a fantastic route but somehow in three tries we failed to break the code. Of the major domestic rallies, I have won almost all-from Raid de Himalaya to Desert Storm and Dakshin Dare to Spice Challenge, but Monsoon Challenge trophy was missing from my cabinet,” said Sanjay Takale as he went through the paces on the final leg of the rally from Murdeshwar to Panaji.
In 2012 Takale finished Runners-up with his co-driver Mohammed Mustafa and last year he had to settle for the fifth position.
“Surprisingly, Mustafa who has done all Monsoon Challenge rallies unlike me, has also not won this particular rally, which was an impetus for us to get serious when we first decided to take part in this year’s challenge,” said Takale.
“I co-drove with so many other drivers also but Monsoon Challenge was something I have not been able to crack. So this year I have been very cautious and our plan is to take as many ‘Zeros” as possible to keep the pressure on the challengers,” said Mustafa.
The Leg 2 of the Mahindra Adventure Monsoon Challenge 2017 rally began from Murdeshwar with free run for first 50 minutes on the highway leading out of coastal Karnataka towards Karvar and then to Goa.
Rains came down heavily in patches but when it poured it just blanked out visibility to barely 3-4 metres, but then the Time, Speed and Distance (TSD) rally gives the competitor a leeway of adhering to the TSD chart, unlike in the speed rally where time is the only factor.
“I had free time from my international commitments and also my R5 car is yet to get ready so I decided to take part to see whether this year I could win,” said Takale, during a free run patch in which competitors are allowed to speed up, stop, take photos-generally this stretch is for the participants to enjoy and savour the nature’s beauty that runs along the way.
Once you hit Karvar, the feel of Goa becomes omnificent. Rain played hide and seek here for a while, but once in Goa surprisingly it was mostly dry.
“We had a very good run today and committed a very few errors. So I hope to get on to the top of the podium,” said Takale as the result tabulation was being carried out.