Multi-time champion Suresh Rana zooms atop while bikers maintain positions as Team TVS Racing’s R Natraj stays at No 1 position.
Belgaum: Relentless rain on Wednesday failed to douse the spirit of the daring rallyists, and certainly not of the multi-time champion Suresh Rana, who nudged ahead of the field in the Extreme category at the end of Day 3, in the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare Cross-country rally that reached Belgaum on Wednesday.
There had to be some rationale behind choosing this scenic and historic Chitradurga as a two-day halt for the rally. Come to think of it, first three days of stages were spread around this town that finds mention even in the mythology.
The Pandavas, during their 14-year-long exile, once visited this town which was then terrorised by a demon named Hidimb. Bhim decides to take on the demon after he came to know of the plight of the people of Chitradurga.
Hidimb is killed in the ensuing fight and Bhim then marries his sister Hidimba and so is born Ghatotkach, who plays a vital role in the war against the Kauravas.
Coming to the Dakshin Dare rally, Rana, who found his touch on Tuesday after Monday’s puncture mishap, let his Grand Vitara almost float on the dusty terrain to finally take the lead for the first time in the 2017 Dare.
Seasoned Rana and his navigator Ashwin Naik did well to negotiate the three stages in Dasanamalige some 26 kilometres from Chitradurga town towards Bengaluru.
The rally then took a reverse and headed towards Belgaum for the transport section that comprised almost 340-km stretch to this Karnataka’s border town. The duo had an aggregate of 6 hours 59 minutes 02 seconds, mere 1 minute 13 seconds ahead of the overnight leader Samrat Yadav (7:00:15). Former champion Sandeep Sharma maintained his No 3 position with a total time of 7:05:46.
“We have reached the lead position after three days and the joy is beyond words. The heavy downpour of rain made the terrain more challenging, but it didn’t go against us. We took it up as a challenge and closed it with top spot while the competition is cut throat,” said Rana on his arrival in Belgaum.
The transport section from Chitradurga to Belgaum was the most breathtaking journey with flowing roads and rain cascading over the lush green fields lining the expressway.
There was a slight change in the position below Sandeep Sharma as Gaurav Chiripal and his co-driver Manoj Vaidya nudged ahead of Harvinder Bhola and Karan Aukta. Chirpal had a total time of 7:23:23, while Harvinder was a tad slower on Wednesday as his aggregate time of 7:27:38 pegged him to No 5 position.
Natraj cements his position
Team TVS Racing’s R Natraj continued to lead the field in the Ultimate Bike category on his TVS RTR Apache 450FX. Natraj, the 2w National rally championship leader was two minutes faster than his teammate Abdul Waheed Tanveer. Privateer Sanjay Kumar, the Day 1 leader, rode his Honda CRF450 much slower than expected and stayed on at No 3 position.
Natraj had an aggregate time of 4 hours 29 minutes and 30 seconds, while Tanveer had an aggregate of 4:31:26. Sanjay Kumar was third with 4:35:57.
The Day 4 of the rally stages will be at Talari Nagar before the participants move to Kolhapur.
Dakshin Dare Day 3 leaders:
Extreme category: 1. Suresh Rana and Ashwin Naik 6 hours 59 minutes 02 seconds; 2. Samrat Yadav and SN Nizami 7:00:15; 3. Sandeep Sharma and Karan Arya 7:05:46; 4. Gaurav Chiripal and Manoj Vaidya 7:23:23; 5. Harvinder Bhola and Karan Aukta 7:27:38 .
Ultimate Bikes: 1. R Natraj (TVS RTR 450FX) 4:29:30; 2. Abdul Waheed Tanveer (TVS RTR 450FX) 4:31:26; 3. Sanjay Kumar (Honda CRF450) 4:35:57; 4. Rajendra RE (TVS RTR 200) 4:46:40; 5. Srinivasa 5:11:47.