Dakshin Dare: Gill plays it smart to consolidate lead

With a solid lead in his bag, Gaurav Gill (Musa Sherif) could afford to cut down on some speed on the third day of the rally.

Gaurav Gill felt it important to "ease a bit" on Wednesday. Photo: Special Arrangement

Delhi’s Gaurav Gill (Musa Sherif) consolidated his position at the top with a smooth and steady show on the four tricky stages of the third leg at the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare 18 here on Wednesday.

Gill, the WRC driver, played it smart all along even as the men from the Maruti Suzuki team posted some of the fastest times of the day. The idea was to shuffle the next two slots at stake at stake firmly held by Mahindra Adventure’s Philippos Mathai (PVS Murthy) and Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik).

But what came as a big surprise was that defending champion Suresh Rana (Chirag Thakur) had given up on the crown. “He has put up a good lead and there's no point pushing hard. We as a team are looking at only the third and fourth slots,” said Rana.

‘All about holding fort’

With a solid lead in his bag, Gill could afford to cut down on some speed as he had an eye on nursing his car. “It was really very rough for me; it was all about holding fort and thinking about my team, the engineers and everybody who have had taken efforts for this. They’ve made some big sacrifices to be here so we felt it’s important to ease a bit,” said Gill.

Day Two report: Gill goes full throttle to retain lead

That brought down his time and he was the third fastest in the day. “It does not matter much,” said Gill.

Flat tyre

Meanwhile, Mathai continued with his good run for the most part. A flat tyre in the final stage cost him close to two minutes, but he carried on to complete the job for his team.

Ghosh, his team-mate, suffered yet another jolt in the form of a flat tyre for the third consecutive day. He lost quite a bit of time and Team Maruti Suzuki’s Sandeep Sharma (Anmol Rampal) looked good to finish third. “Since they have a comfortable lead, they can afford to relax a bit but we need to go [as] hard as we can,” said Sandeep.

“We never expected to have three punctures in three days and that is costing us our third position as well. We are over a minute behind Sandeep but the game is still not over because it’s a cross country rally. Also, [Thursday] we will be on tarmac and I am sure we will come back harder,” said Naik.