Hassan: The National champion in the 1400 cc section, Girijashankar Joshi, and co-driver Srikanth, driving a Santro, led at the stopover at the half-way stage of the Maruti Suzuki Discover Karnataka Rally. Immanuel and his co-driver John Jose in an Esteem were placed second while Ashwin Naik and Moosa Shareif driving a Maruti 800 were in third spot.
A total of 23 cars were flagged off from the Sree Kanteerva Stadium on Friday morning. The rally, which passed through Mysore on its way to Hassan, had its share of drop-outs with S. Daniel and the only lady co-driver Susan in a Fiat car suffering engine problems and having to stop to get their car repaired.
The team will re-join the rally on Saturday to participate for the second leg prizes. Motorcyclist turned rally driver T.K. Vishwanath (Chandrashekar, co-driver) in an Esteem also dropped out due to an engine seizure. They too will rejoin the rally on the second leg starting from Hassan on Saturday morning.
National Motocross champion, C.K. Vijaykumar, and twice winner in the INRC, Lohith Urs, did not participate in the Maruti Suzuki Discover Karnataka Rally, although they were originally part of the entry list.
The results: First day halfway stage: 1. Girijashankar Joshi and Srikanth (Santro); 2. Immanuel and John Jose (Esteem); 3. Ashwin Naik and Moosa Shareif (Maruti 800); 4. Pradeep Urs and Ravindra (Esteem); 5. Logeshwaran and Raja (Maruti 800).
Novices: Sujay and Chidanand (Esteem); 2. Ratan and Ravindra (Zen); 3. Prashanth and Ashok Kale (Baleno). Special Correspondent