We are at the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare as it completed its fourth leg today. The annual southern motorsport rally by Maruti Suzuki is now in its ninth iteration this year. The rally has extended beyond boundaries as for the first time it made a mark in the state of Maharashtra as the day concluded with a Super Special Stage in Kolhapur.
The fourth leg began in Belagavi where the contestants had to navigate through a horrendous downpour in Kuduremani. After covering a total distance of 329 kilometres in leg 4, the top positions in the Ultimate cars category, however, remained unchanged.
The reigning champion Suresh Rana with his co-driver Ashwin Naik managed to hold on the top spot at the end of leg four as their Grand Vitara crossed the line in a time lap of 07:21:13. The Gypsy came a close second, with Samrat Yadav behind the wheel and S Nizami beside as co-driver, and it managed a time of 07:21:51. The third position was maintained by Sandeep Sharma with co-driver Karan Arya with a final time of 07:37:27.
Once in Kolhapur, the Super Special Stage bought all the action and deep roar of those racecars closer to the Maharashtrian 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 organisers decision to introduce the SSS was a successful one.
T Nataraj sharing the gruesome experience of the leg four, said, “The cloudy weather turned into a heavy downpour in no time. It is more challenging for two-wheelers particularly, since maintaining the balance is a task in slushes and clogged water. The test tracks were equally challenging as the entire stretch was completely slushy but what kept us going was the enthusiasm of the local spectators who were thrilled to experience motorsports in their city premise. One leg away, and our excitement knows no bound.”
The next leg of the 2017 Dakshin Dare will move to another prominent city of Maharashtra, Pune, clocking a total distance of over 2000 kilometres marking the final leg of the rally.