Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare: Gill returns to the ‘challenge’

The 2000-km long rally will test the skills of all the drivers.

There’s no doubt that Gill would be at his aggressive best over the long stretches of the five-day event.   -  M. Periasamy

With India’s most celebrated rally driver Gaurav Gill (Team Mahindra Adventure) back in the hunt, it’s going to be tough all the way for defending champion Suresh Rana (Maruti Suzuki) in the tenth edition of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare that was flagged off here on Sunday.

The 2000-km long rally, said to be long and demanding, will start from Bengaluru and traverse through some of the treacherous terrains in both Karnataka and Maharashtra before entering Goa where the eventual champion will be crowned.

It will be a real test for all the drivers as well as for a World Rally Championship (WRC) driver like Gill. “Life is not going to be easy as you think. The rally is really tough and will not only test others skills but mine as well,” said Gill, who is returning to this format after six years.

The last and only time that Gill took part in this rally was in 2012 and he won it with relative ease. “As always, I am prepared but I am a little bit rusty as I have not driven a long distance rally for many years now,” added the APRC star.

He said the rally can be really hard on both the man and the machine. “But for me, it’s going to be a good learning exercise. I want to to go out there and check if I had taken the right decision.”

“I am good enough to drive anywhere but I chose to come here because I respect the event, its format and the many challenges that it holds,” he added.

There’s no doubt that Gill would be at his aggressive best over the long stretches of the five-day event. So would be his team-mates Amittrajit Ghosh and Phillipose Mathai. The duo are solid enough to challenge the best on their day.

Rana, on the other hand, is a ten-time Raid de Himalaya champion and he may go that extra mile to defend the title for his team. Sandeep Sharma and Samrat Yadav are the other two drivers who will represent Team Maruti.