Hit the road

All smiles Savera D’Souza and Satish Gopalakrishnan, the winners in the Endurance section  

In motor sports, F1 races featuring mean machines with daredevil drivers behind the wheel, scorching the asphalt at breathtaking speed, add to the glamour quotient. However, on the other side you have the rally segment, which puts a premium on adventure and endurance with the time, speed and distance (TSD) format. Such a rally offers a chance to novices to try their hand at racing, testing both their skill and machine. One of the fastest-growing rally now is the annual Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare, run by Maruti Udyog Ltd. Bangalore-based Motosports Inc. hosts the event.

What makes Dakshin Dare different is the picturesque, but challenging route which stretches through Southern States of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. The variety of terrain and ever changing weather along route — from sunny plains, and rainy forests to foggy and mist laden mountain paths, all contribute to spicing up the driver's experience. The third edition of this rally, held in mid-June this year, covered a longer distance, 2,100 km as compared to last year's 1,800 km.

The rally was flagged off from Chennai on June 12 and finished five days later at Bangalore. In the five-day run, 95 rallyists (40 cars and 55 bikes ) traversed through 11 special stages. Racing against the backdrop of monsoon, the rally certainly tested the grit and nerve of the participants as they drove through different terrains and conditions.

Starting from Sriperumbudur on the outskirts of Chennai, the first day's action saw the rallyists wind their way to cool, hilly climes of Kodaikanal, about 550 km away from the start, covering two special stages en route. On the second day, the rally descended down to temple town of Palani for bit of dirt track racing around the canals before undertaking the 350 km run to Comibatore. On the third day, it moved onto Dharmpuri, which had three special stages driving along the border of Kerala, with picture postcard backdrop of windmills along the way.

Ooty was the next stop, after a 350 kms run. On the fourth day, the drivers negotiated a challenging route, a 55 km special stage with 17 hair pin bends under misty and foggy conditions which was compounded by the slippery terrain on the Kalhatti Ghats, en route to Mysore from Ooty.

On the fifth day, the caravan moved towards Malnad and then on to Coorg for a 100 km slushy and slippery dirt track drive around the lush coffee plantations. The final stretch was done in intermittent rains, right through the Mysore-Bangalore highway. Twenty cars and nine bikes made the finish line at end of a gruelling run.

The duo of Manoj Vaidya and Uday Kumar in their Maruti Gypsy, took the top spot in Ultimate Cars category while the Endurace section winners were Satish Gopalakrishnan and Savera D'Souza in their i Grand Vitara.

“It was a tough, but an exciting rally, barring few minor glitches, we did not have any major problems and I guess we did a good job,” said Vaidya.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 12:52:38 AM |

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