Gaurav Gill sets the pace on a hot day

Gaurav Gill played it safe and secure to finish on top on day one of the 10th Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare 2018 on Monday.

Team Mahindra Adventures Gaurav Gill scorches the rough terrain on day one of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare.   -  Rayan Rozario

Delhi’s Gaurav Gill has made even the best of terrains in both India and abroad look simple through his aggressive driving skills and great control of the machine.

But for once, he played it safe and secure to finish on top on day one of the 10th Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare 2018 on Monday.

After driving through the rather treacherous terrains early in the day, the APRC star admitted that they were still getting used to the fact that it’s an open rally.

“It’s a little strange or weird,  I must say, that we didn’t have the pace notes or any information about the stages. Obviously, we had to try and get used to it. We knew it was going to be rough but it was tougher that what we had anticipated but, we clocked some good times.”

He said the terrain was loaded with rocks and boulders.

”It was for almost half the course, and it was both tricky and challenging as well. I quickly learnt to pick up the right lines, which is the mos important thing to do.”

“Also, the road, at times, was very wide so you need to spot the smooth areas while driving 100kms per hour,” he added.

Gill’s most trusted partner and co-driver Musa Sherif was happy that they had a clean drive.

“We followed whatever instructions that was given in the road book. Frankly, we took some time to understand.”

Team Mahindra’s other driver Philippos Mathai (P.V.S. Murthy) played it cool as well to finish behind Gill and ahead of his team-mate Amittrajit Ghosh, who lost a lot of time fighting a flat tyre in the very first stage.

“We were in the dust the whole stage. In INRC you will never get to see a terrain like this. It was very hard to judge the pace, which is something we’ll have to learn quickly.” said Ghosh.

Defending champion Suresh Rana (co-driver Chirag Thakur) of Tea Maruti Suzuki, however, did not enjoy a great day out as a result of a flat front tyre.

“We lost precious minutes in the first stage but it does not matter because it’s a long rally and we can make up for the lost time in any part of the rally.  I will never give up,” said Rana.

The results (provisional, day one) Cars: 1. Gaurav Gill & Musa Sherif (Team Mahindra Adventure) 2:25:47; 2. Philippos Mathai & P.V.S. Murthy 2:3019; Amittrajit Ghosh & Ashwin Naik 2:30:24 Bikes: 1. Yuvakumar 1:43:30; 2. Vishwas 1:48:22; 3. Aakash 1:49:29.