Pune: With his World Rally Championship debut less than 25 days away, Pune’s lone international rally driver, Sanjay Takale, scored a confidence boosting title win in the Mahindra Adventure Monsoon Challenge Rally 2018, which began in Mangalore and ended in Goa, on Sunday.
Monsoon Challenge was a escapade that Takale wanted to experience before he gets into the gruel of preparations for the Finland WRC round scheduled on the last weekend of July.
“I wanted to defend my title more so for my co-driver Mohammad Mustafa, who was keen on us participating in this two-day TSD (Time Speed Distance) rally that I think I have mastered after winning so many titles,” said Takale.
This year though the organisers had introduced Night stage to spice up the contest, but in the Open Class Takale had no contest as he picked up mere 11 seconds of penalty points to 15 seconds by Chidananda Murty.
KP Karthick Maruthi, who eventually finished runners-up, was tied for the third place with two others, but as the rally progressed he was the toughest contender for Takale.
“My focus was to enjoy the ride and keep it to the tulip provided and it worked as we picked up very less penalty points though we could not match our last years time,” Takale explained.
Driving in Open Class, Takale and Mustafa rode their Mahindra XUV almost precisely and maintained good times at Time Controls. In the Leg 1 on Saturday, Takale picked up 35 seconds penalty and another 26 seconds in Leg 2A from Murdeshwar to Karvar and in Leg 2B from Karvar to Goa saw him picking up 15 seconds penalty.
Takale and Mustafa logged 1 minute and 27 seconds of penalties, which was good enough for them to tide over the fast approaching Karthick Maruthi.
Final Classification (Top 5):
Open Class: 1. Sanjay Takale and Mohammad Mustafa (1:27 seconds penalty), 2. KP KarthickMaruthi and C Sathivel (1:27); 3. Ravindra Kumar BV and Sagar M (1:30); 4. Pramod Vig and Prakash M (1:30); 5. V Santhosh Kumar and T Nagarajan (1:43).
Class 2: 1. N Maheswaran and Murugan N (1:31); 2. Vikram and Dinky Verghese (1:42); 3. Srikanth Umapathy and D Raghu Raman (2:05); 4.Shafraz Junaid and Akhry Ameer (13:46); 5. Anikesh Verma and Akash Singh (43:59).