With the 2017 Maruti-Suzuki Dakshin Dare looking like it was going to be decided in a final shootout, the old motorsport bugbear of mechanical issues interjected and assured Suresh Rana and co-driver Ashwin Naik of a victory in their Team Maruti-Suzuki Grand Vitara.
Cross-country rallying’s rising star, Samrat Yadav, was just 38 seconds behind before the start of today’s fifth and final leg but a broken front axle meant that his Gypsy noticeably limped through the 70 km stage that started over an hour late due to a landslide in it caused by heavy rain.
In fact, his pace was so reduced, that third placed Sandeep Sharma – who was 16 minutes behind Yadav after leg four – managed to pass the stricken Gypsy in his own within the distance of the stage.
The damage was still not enough, however, for Yadav to lose overall second place as he finished 10 minutes ahead of Sharma.
TVS CLINCH 1-2
R Nataraj and Tanveer Abdul Wahid were untroubled at the top of the Ultimate Bikes standing after taking over at the end of leg two. Sanjay Kumar completed the top three as the rally drew to a close.
The shifting of the Dakshin Dare Rally to the third and fourth week of July meant heavy rainfall greeting the competitors as they entered Maharashtra, a first time destination for the event.
The rain made things particularly treacherous for the riders, in particular Nataraj and Wahid on their TVS RTR 450 FXs that deliver power hard and fast with a twist of the throttle.
ULTIMATE CARS (top 3)
Suresh Rana: 10hrs.11min.26sec.
Samrat Yadav: 10:14:52
Sandeep Sharma: 10:24:17
ULTIMATE BIKES (top 3)
R Nataraj: 6:12:38
Tanveer Abdul Wahid 6:15:37
Sanjay Kumar: 6:26:53