Vaidya-Uday snatch slender lead

Motor sport: Dakshin Dare rally

From the 55 competitors – Ultimate (6 drivers, 15 riders), Endurance (34 drivers) – going all out, it was Vaidya’s calm that stood out.

As a result of some very patient driving through the first stage in Vayalur and the second stage at the Madras Motor Sports Club’s track here, Vaidya was able to hold off a stiff challenge from Imran (co-driver Rashid) and claim top honours in a time of 1:02.45 in his souped-up Gypsy.

Imran, driving an Esteem, had to be content with the second spot at the end of the four special stages (47.4 kms) in a time of 1:03.21, trailing the leader by 36 seconds, while Sunil Shetty (co-driver Darayash D) completed the stages in 1:08.37.

The rally, flagged off at 6.00 am, headed to the Vayalur dirt track for two laps around the 11.35-km circuit and after an intense battle, the action moved to MMSC, where 24 kms were covered on a newly-designed dirt and tarmac track.

After a 507-km transport section haul to Kodaikanal, the second day of the rally kicks off on Tuesday.

In the Endurance category (TSD — time, speed, distance), the drivers were up against a lot more in the drive through to Kodaikanal.

Sanjay Ram Takale (co-driver Rahul Sancheti), a regular in rallies around India, finished the distance of 507 km just one second behind the stipulated time.

Bangalore’s Sathish Gopalakrishnan (co-driver Savera D’Souza), the second husband-wife pair to drive in the event, finished second on their Grand Vitara while K Prasad (co-driver Mustafa) came in third, 0.3 and 0.5 seconds behind respectively.

In the two-wheeler section, TVS Racing dominated proceedings, as they have done in recent years with brilliant consistency. Pramod Joshua finished first with a time of 55.27 while team-mate Nataraj came in second (56.16). Sharath Kumar S, a privateer, settled for third on the opening-day chart.

TVS’ KP Aravind, in the lead for over three stages, crashed in the fourth stage to concede ground. His participation on day two is subject to a fitness test to be conducted later in the day.

Results (leg one, four special stages): Ultimate Category: Cars: Manoj Vaidya/ Uday Kumar (1:2.45) 1; Imran/ Rashid (1:03.21) 2; Sunil Shetty/ Darayash D (1:8.37) 3.
Bikes: Pramod Joshua (TVS, 55.27S) 1; Nataraj (TVS, 56.16) 2; Sharath Kumar S (1:0.18) 3.
Endurance: Takale Sanjay Ram/ Rahul Sancheti (0.01S) 1; Satish Gopalakrishnan/ Savera D’Souza (0.03) 2; K Prasad/ Mustafa (0.05) 3.

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