Ace rally driver Gaurav Gill took the lead on the opening day of the 10th edition of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare that spans across 2000 km and three states.
Gill, who has also been showing his mettle in World Rally Championship this year, completed the three special stages of the day in 2h25m47s. Gill and co-driver Musa Sherif driving the rally-spec XUV500 for Mahindra Adventure, were a good 5 minutes faster than teammates Philippos Matthai with co-driver VVS Moorthy, with the latter completing the stage in 2h30m19s. Coming in third on Day 1 were Amittrajit Ghosh with Ashwin Naik, with a time of 2h30m24s, just 5 seconds behind Philippos Matthai.
It was a slow start for Gill and Sherif on Day 1 and the driver only managed to pick up pace as the day progressed. The terrain posed a tough challenge for the rally specialist. Speaking about his performance, Gill said, “We were not aware of the terrain and there was lot of gravel on the tracks. I usually scorch the track but here I had to be cautious and slide through the corners rather than coming in fast.”
(Defending champion Suresh Rana lost 7 minutes after a puncture on Special Stage 1)
For defending champion Suresh Rana of Team Maruti Suzuki, the driver picked up a puncture in the first special stage itself, which cost the driver 7 precious minutes and eventually finished fourth. Rana will now be looking to fight back into the lead over the next four days.
In the two-wheeler category, Yuva Kumar took the lead on the opening day with a time of 1h43m30s, while coming in second was Vishwas SD with a time of 1h48m22s. Akash Aithal took the third place completing the leg in 1h49m29s.
In the TSD (Time-Speed-Distance) category, Vinay Kumar and Ravi Kumar recorded the least penalty of 01.47s to top the charts on day 1. Srikanth and Raghuraman with penalty points of 01.53s finished second. Pramod Vig and Prakash M finished third with penalty points of 02.00s
4WD – Above 1851 cc
1) Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif (Team Mahindra Adventure) -2:25:47s
2) Philippos Matthai & VVS Moorthy – 2:30:19s
3) Amittrajit Ghosh/Ashwin Naik (Team Mahindra Adventure) – 2:30:24s
1) Yuva Kumar – 1:43:30s
2) Vishwas S D – 1:48:22s
3) Akash Aital – 1:49:29s
1) Vinay Kumar & Ravi Kumar (00:01:47s)
2) Srikanth & Raghuraman (00:01:53s)
3) Pramod Vig & Prakash M (00:02:00s)