Chitradurga: Suresh Rana and Ashwin Naik cut down the lead assumed by Samrat Yadav and inched closer to the 2015 champion after the end of Day 2 that saw three Special Stages and one Super Special Stage, in the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare Cross-country rally near here on Tuesday.
Seasoned Rana drove his 4x4 Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara flat out early in the morning to set the stage for an interesting fight after puncture on Monday had put him behind.
The Stage set in the plains of Doddakittadahalli, some 46 kilometres from the rally headquarters in Chitradurga, was delayed by about 40 minutes due to technical issues, but once the Zero car went through, high speed action began in right earnest.
With the majestic windmills providing the backdrop on one side and a dam on the other, the 39.61-km long stage reverberated with the rev of the modified four-wheel drive vehicles.
Sanrat, who is making a comeback after recovering from a nasty crash last year in the transport section of a rally, braved the conditions and kept his cool to stay ahead of favourite Rana.
The rally later in the day moved into the city limits of Chitradurga for the Super Special Stage where Samrat maintained his lead position going into the third day.
Samrat and co-driver SN Nizami forced their way up the leaderboard with a an aggregate time of 4 hours 55 minutes and 04 seconds in their Maruti Gypsy. As Rana closed in, Team Maruti Suzuki’s dominance was but obvious. Rana and his navigator Naik now have taken 04:58:13 for the seven stages completed so far. Sandeep Sharma with co-driver Karan Arya in their Gypsy were third in 04:59:50.
“The competition seems to get tough and edgy with each day. The Super Special Stage is something that adds further challenges where our driving skills are tested on dedicated tracks. We are managing to maintain a very minute difference between other top competitors and us. With another Special Stage in the offing and exploring legs on new terrains, the competition will only toughen,” said Samrat after the Super Special Stage.
The concept of Super Special Stage was introduced at Dakshin Dare last year. Following the success, two SSS have been planned in this year’s edition. Along with testing skills of rallyists on the test tracks, the objective is to bring motorsport activities close to city onlookers. The first SSS in the city was spread across 2 kms where enthusiasts thronged into to watch the daredevilry.
TVS Racing take lead
After a reverse on Day 1, Team TVS Racing took the lead in the Ultimate Bike category with the reigning Desert Storm champion R Natraj moving to the top of the leadings.
Riding a TVS RTR 450FX, the 2w National rally championship leader, took his appointed place by pushing down privateer Sanjay Kumar, who led the field overnight on his Honda CRF450.
Natraj had an aggregate time of 3 hours 10 minutes and 41 seconds, while his teammate Abdul Waheed Tanveer took the second place behind him.
Tanveer, the TVS’s developmental rider for international events, had an aggregate of 3:11:23 and Sanjay Kumar fell to third position with 3:11:30.
The Day 3 of the rally will be at Aimangala where the three stages are set covering 106.32 kilometres altogether. The rally will then move to Belgaum.
Dakshin Dare Day 2 leaders:
Extreme category: 1. Samrat Yadav and SN Nizami 4 hours 55 minutes 04 seconds; 2. Suresh Rana and Ashwin Naik 4:58:13; 3. Sandeep Sharma and Karan Arya 4:59:53; 4. Harvinder Bhola and Karan 5:18:16; 5. Gaurav Chiripal and Manoj Vaidya 5:19:45.
Ultimate Bikes: 1. R Natraj (TVS RTR 450FX) 3:10:41; 2. Abdul Waheed Tanveer (TVS RTR 450FX) 3:11:23; 3. Sanjay Kumar (Honda CRF450) 3:11:30; 4. Rajendra RE (TVS RTR 200) 3:22:21; 5. Srinivasa 3:43:35.