The ninth edition of Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare was a special one. The biggest annual southern motorsport rally ventured to the north-west entering the state of Maharashtra for the first time. The 2017 edition of Dakshin Dare spanned over six days with over 180 participants enthusiastically competing over 2000 kilometres.
The reigning champion duo of Suresh Rana and Ashwin Naik took home the trophy once again in the Ultimate Cars category with an impressive lead of over three minutes. The battle was fought until the last leg with runner-up Samrat Yadav and S N Nizami who finished second. Rana admitted he had to push himself beyond his limits to maintain his lead on the Gypsy driven by Samrat which was right at their tail throughout the race. Settling in at the third position was the duo, Sandeep Sharma and Karan Arya.
Suresh Rana, speaking on their consecutive triumph, asserted, “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.”
The time-speed-distance (TSD) or the Endurance category was won by Subir Roy and Nirav Mehta driving their Maruti Suzuki Swift. Closing in second, was the S-Cross driven by Karthick Maruthi and Sankar S Anand. Raghu Nandan & Prakash M bagged the third spot.
Flagged off in Bengaluru as always, the Dakshin Dare rally witnessed the participants traverse through the terrains of Chitradurga before hitting the treacherous track in Belgaum. The rally hit the state of Maharashtra where it was welcomed by horrendous weather in Kolhapur. After which the stage moved to the outskirts of Pune city for the final leg where the western ghats of Bhor and Pasure welcomed the participants with scenic hills and pleasing weather.
There were two Super Special Stages as well which were also held this year thanks to its successful last year when it was first introduced. The Super Special Stage bought all the action and deep roar of race cars closer to the spectators who turned up in big numbers to see the machines whiz past them. There was considerable enthusiasm and cheering from the bystanders, proving that the organiser’s decision to introduce the SSS was a successful one.
Commenting on the successful culmination of the ninth edition of Dakshin Dare, Tarun Garg, executive vice president, marketing, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., said, “Over the last nine years, Dakshin Dare has grown tremendously and been able to gain a strong foothold in the motorsports community in South India. The increasing number of participants from across the country along with the longest rally route is testimonial to the claims. The large participation is indicative of our reach and influencing a larger audience through varied locations added to the rally each year.”
Garg also admitted that the pressure and expectation for the decade event are huge and the organising/participating team will need to start early to come back bigger and better next year. In the meantime, we hope to see an increase in the female participation in all the motorsports event in the county including the Dakshin Dare.