Dakshin Dare promises exciting fare

For the 180-odd rallyists — among them are some of the country’s most seasoned and decorated ones — the drive over the next five days could not be that pleasant.

Suresh Rana (right) and his co-driver Ashwin Naik getting ready to mount their challenge at the Maruti Suzuki Dakhin Dare in Bengaluru on Sunday.   -  P. K. Ajith Kumar

The Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare was flagged off under a blue sky from the premises of the Orion Mall, Rajajinagar, here on a pleasant Sunday afternoon. For the 180-odd rallyists — among them are some of the country’s most seasoned and decorated ones — the drive over the next five days could not be that pleasant.

Ahead of them is a long road that stretches over 2200 km. They would have to cope with some challenging terrains as well as unpredictable weather.

The competition will begin here on Monday morning, after Sunday’s ceremonial flag-off. For the first leg, they will travel to Chitradurga, known for its famous, massive fort that was built four centuries ago.

Then they would have to move to Belagavi, also in Karnataka, before navigating to Kolhapur in Maharashtra. From there, the final destination of Pune should not be too far. The race will conclude on July 21.

This is the first time that Maruti Suzuki is taking its Dakshin Dare beyond southern India, and to the west. Last year, the race had ended in Goa.

“This is the ninth edition of the Dakshin Dare and the biggest,” said Anand Prakash, commercial business head, South, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. “We are extremely pleased with the response we have had for this rally. One of the aims of conducting this event is to popularise motorsport in south India.”

The reigning champion, Suresh Rana, agrees with him on that point. “It is nice to see such a huge motorsport event taking place here,” he said. “It is going to be a tough race, but I hope I could retain my title. But, I am expecting strong challenges from my competitors like Sandeep Sharma.”

The focus would once again be pretty much on Rana and Sharma in the Ultimate cars category. Competitions in Endurance cars (TSD) and Ultimate bikes too should be exciting.

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