Gritty Samrat Yadav keeps lead

The surprise leader in the Ultimate Car category on Monday, Samrat Yadav had another good day at office, in the company of his co-driver S.N. Nizami.

Samrat Yadav (left) is leading after the second leg of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare at Chitradurga on Tuesday. With him is his co-driver S.N. Nizami.   -  Special Arrangement

The villagers in Doddakittadahalli, about an hour’s drive from here, were woken on Tuesday morning by the vrooming sound of speeding cars. And many of them watched in awe as cars, of different shapes and hues, breezed past them on the brown, dirt road.

First off the block, for the second leg of the ninth edition of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare, was Samrat Yadav in his yellow Maruti Gypsy. The surprise leader in the Ultimate Car category on Monday, Samrat Yadav had another good day at office, in the company of his co-driver S.N. Nizami.

The 27-year-old from Chandigarh, who is on a comeback trail after a terrible accident during the Raid de Himalaya in 2015, maintained his lead, clocking 04:55:04. In the second spot is reigning champion Suresh Rana (04:58:13), along with co-driver Ashwin Naik while Sandeep Sharma (04:59:50), in the company of Karan Arya, is placed third.

Yadav said he was glad that he could retain his lead against such seasoned rivals as Rana and Sharma. “And the Dakshin Dare is a pretty tough race, contrary to what some people feel,” he said. “Especially difficult was today’s leg, which also featured the super special stage on dedicated tracks. Besides, the track was rather slushy because of rain.”

Meanwhile, in the Ultimate Bike category, T. Natraj (03:10:41), moved into the pole position, while Abdul Wahid (3:11:23) is in the second position. The overnight leader Sanjay Kumar (3:11:30) slipped in the third position.

Three legs remain before the race concludes at Pune on July 21. On Wednesday, the rallyists will move towards Belagavi.

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