Panaji: Breathtaking Jog falls on the way to Karvar was a sight to behold, but Sanjay Takale fleetingly saw the mesmerizing falls on his left and was back on the time charts-a routine that earned him one last domestic trophy that was missing from his cabinet.
The Pune rally driver came almost close to breaking his own record of 4 seconds in a dominating drive through Murdeshwar to Panaji to clinch the Mahindra Adventure Monsoon Challenge 2017 trophy on Sunday evening.
The rally began from Mangalore and covered over 650 kilometres through the scenic Western Ghats with Takale and his navigator, Mohammed Mustafa, won the Open class and the overall title after picking up an aggregate of 59 seconds penalties.
Having logged 49 seconds penalties in Leg 1 from Managalore to Murdeshwar, Takale and Mustafa drove determinedly to nail it in the Leg 2 that took the competitors through rain-drenched Shimoga-Karvar region.
“We began scoring ‘zeros’ at the start and that gave us the confidence to go for breaking our own national record,” said Takale of the National record of 4 seconds penalty that he and Mustafa own.
“After earning a series of ‘zeros’ we were tempted to go for the record, but the weather was also a factor that hindered our quest a little bit. Rain came down in patches. It happened so many times that we were driving in rain and I could see dry patch only 100-odd metres ahead of me.
Then again you drive through the dry patch for a few hundred metres and again pouring rain greets you,” is how Takale described the vagaries of monsoon.
Takale had finished runners-up in 2012, the second edition of the Mahindra Adventure Monsoon Challenge and was fifth in 2016.
On Sunday, Takale and Mustafa drove a perfect Time, Speed, Distance chart to log an aggregate of 59 seconds penalties. Their nearest competitors, V Santhosh Kumar and T Nagarajan, posted 29 seconds in Leg 2 to follow up their 1 minute penalty of Leg 1, and finished second.
Ravindra Kumar and Sagar M had to settle for second runners-up trophy losing by one hundredths of a second.
“There were a lot of free runs in Leg 2 and that was an impetus for us to correct our mistakes of Leg 1. Driving through Jog-Shimoga region with the breathtaking Jog falls on the left was a sight to behold. This is what a TSD rally allows you as one has to follow the speed given in the chart so as the competitors gets to enjoy nature in all its glory,” said Takale.
In the overall classifications, Takale and Mustafa took the title no doubt, but Santhosh Kumar and Nagarajan were pushed to the third place by Vinay BP and Ravi Kumar BM, the winners of the Challenge Class.
Top 5 after Leg 2:
Overall: 1. Sanjay Takale and Mohammed Mustafa (00:59 seconds penalty), 2. Vinay BP and Ravi Kumar BM (01:15), 3. V Santhosh Kumar and T Nagarajan (1:29).
Open Class: 1. Sanjay Takale and Mohammed Mustafa (00:59 seconds penalty), 2. V Santhosh Kumar and T Nagarajan (1:29), 3. Ravindra Kumar and Sagar M (1:30), 4. Pramod Vig and Prakash M (1:50), 5. B Suresh Kumar and G Natarajan (2:13).
Challenge Class: 1. Vinay BP and Ravi Kumar BM (01:15), 2. Dr Raghvendra Pidamale and Dr Muralidhar Rai (3:51), 3. N Maheswaran and Murugan N (4:00), 4. Dr Ganesh Jain and Vikram Jain (4:24), 5. Akshay Jain and Akhil Nayak (7:55).
Corporate Class: 1. Santhosh Kumar and Pradeep Nagaraj (5:57), 2. Baiju Stephen and Kumar M (9:18), 3.Umashankar R and Shanmuga SN (15:56).