Team Sparky Garage’s Aabhishek Mishra not only held on to his lead, but also extended his chances of winning back the trophy at the end of SS6 on Friday. The defending champion continued to show his class, taking the least amount of time (02:49:49) to conquer the stage. Meanwhile, Gaurav Gill suffered another setback which moved him down to the eighth position, thus putting him out of the contention.
Second place hais been bagged by Samrat Yadav while Lhapka Tsering (driving Polaris ATV) jumped dramatically up the leaderboard to climb to the fourth position. Samrat (with co-driver Kunal Kashyap; 03:00:44) and Tsering (co-driver Venu Rameshkumar; 02:53:46) recorded some of the best timings of the morning in the Extreme Category, closing in to the race leader. Sparky teammate Capt AVS Gill (with co-driver Diwakar Kalia) too was in top form, moving up one place to be on the third position.
APRC winner and WRC ace Gill, having secured second position overnight, was looking good in early loops on Friday. But his Mahindra XUV500 entered handicap mode after its four-wheel-drive system failed. Gill had to navigate the Thar desert in a front-wheel-drive only and was stuck on a dune costing him an hour and a half, and pushing him down the scoreboard to eight position.
With temperatures flying past 50 degrees, four more drivers in Extreme category fell by the wayside. After the longest stage of the competition – almost 190 kilometres – the competition will head into relatively short stage. The final leg will conclude on Saturday.