Pune: If Raid de Himalaya is the toughest and most challenging of the cross-country rally that is hosted in India, Dakshin Dare could rank at No 3 with Desert Storm through the Thar Desert occupying No 2 position.
The similarities end there unfortunately as Raid and Desert Storm have always pulled the best talent, but for some unforeseen reasons best rally talent have skipped Dakshin Dare.
The 10-time Raid de Himalaya winner Suresh Rana competed in the 2017 edition and successfully defended his title, but he hardly had competition as he would usually get in Raid and Storm rallies.
Incidentally, all these three rallies are promoted by India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki, who have been trying hard to get more competition in Dakshin Dare, which is easily the longest rally in South India.
To get the rally to end in Pune was yet another attempt to make motorsports enthusiasts of the region to feel wanted and get inspired to take part.
The final stages in Bhor, 70-plus kilometre of tarmac road to be done twice over, was the most challenging and it was here that chalk and cheese were separated. Suresh Rana and his co-driver Ashwin Naik braked three punctures and hold up during the five-day rally to eventually win the championship. Driving his Grand Vitara, Rana went flat out to open up a big time difference over Samrat Yadav, given that he had just 38 seconds lead. His wife Anu won the Ladies category.
“This is our second consecutive win at Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare. With a new route this year, it was important to always keep your mind synced with the vehicle. The competition was tough with newer participants entering Dakshin Dare.”
In the Endurance category, Maruti Swift driven by Subir Roy and Nirav Mehta led the category followed by S-Cross driven by Karthick Maruthi and Sankar S Anand and Raghu Nandan and Prakash M by making it to the finishing line.
TVS sweeps bikes class
Champion rally rider R Natraj led the Team TVS Racing to the sweep of all major bike category sub-classes in the Dakshin Dare Cross-country rally.
The Desert Storm champion Natraj won the Group A and also the overall category on his TVS Apache RTR 450FX, while his teammate Abdul Waheed Tanveer finished second in Group A.
Rajendra RE won the Group B upto 260cc category riding RTR 200 and Aishwarya Pissay won the Group B upto 260cc in women’s category riding RTR 200. Two-time Gulf Monsoon Challenge Scooter champion Syed Asif Ali won the scooter’s category riding TVS SXR150.
Dakshin Dare Final Standings:
Extreme category: 1. Suresh Rana and Ashwin Naik 10 hours 11 minutes 26 seconds; 2. Samrat Yadav and SN Nizami 10:14:52; 3. Sandeep Sharma and Karan Arya 10:24:17.
Ultimate Bikes: 1. R Natraj 6:12:38; 2. Abdul Waheed Tanveer 6:15:37; 3. Sanjay Kumar 6:26:53.
Endurance Cars (TSD): 1. Subir Roy and Nirav Mehta 12 minutes 20 seconds (penalty); 2. Karthick Maruthi and Sankar S Anand 12:45; 3. Raghu Nandan and Prakash M 12:49.