Pune: Heavy torrential rains and slippery conditions notwithstanding, Pune rally driver Sanjay Takale braved to finish the second round of the Thailand Pre-Rally Championship in fourth position and earned some crucial points for his team Delo Sports, in Lopburi, Thailand here on Sunday.
“The smell of burning clutch immediately gave me an idea that it was fruitless going for a change in the given short time and instead I decided to carry on without using the clutch and controlled my heavy Isuzu D-Max as best as possible,” Takale said after he finished tied-third, but was officially placed fourth as per a FIA rule.
Having gained experience of driving in FIA World Rally Championship at the Rally Finland in Jyvaskyla last month, Takale was ready to cope up with the challenging situation wherein his clutch almost burnt to nothing.
Driving Car No 33, Takale was fifth going into the last loop and behind Chiborlang Wahlang, another driver from India, by five seconds and 20 seconds behind Car No 35 of Amnuy.
It was a fightback with a calculated risk and Takale also defeated his teammate C Wichwat in the last two stages to move up the order.
Then came heavy rain and the last Stage 9 was again cancelled still the Pune rally driver bested Amnuy in five of the seven stages, but what really cost him the place was that he gave a lot of time to Amnuy in the first stage when heavy smell of clutch burning caught him off-guard.
“I got fourth place time since Amnuy beat me in the first stage and the rule is if there is a tie then whoever wins the first stage between the two drivers the winner gets third-place points.
Takale finished with overall timing of 33 minutes 28 seconds for the fourth position, while the rally title went to lighter Toyota Hilux, which was more faster and manoeuvrable.
Rain plays spoilsport
The rally began on Saturday on a course that was lashed by heavy overnight rains making it difficult for most of the competitors to drive on slippery road marked with deep ruts filled with water.
“In the first stage I drove a bit safe and kept to the gripline and clocked 4:44 and then I pushed in the SS2, which I completed in 4:01,” said Takale.
The third stage was cancelled as it was impossible to drive through it as it was disadvantage to Delo Sport, which were running Isuzu Dmax’s, while others were on lighter Toyota Hilux and Mitsubhishi Triton.
Sanjay Takale: SS1: 4:44; SS2:4:01; SS3: x; SS4: 3:52; SS5: 3:39; SS6: 10:02; SS7: 3:38; SS8: 3:32; SS9: x. Total: 33 mins 28 secs.