The country’s top long-distance rally driver Suresh Rana along with co-driver Parminder Thakur, driving a Grand Vitara, and Pramod Joshua on a TVS Apache, topped the provisional overall classifications among four and two-wheelers, respectively on conclusion of Leg 1 in the Extreme category of the 5th Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare Rally which commenced from Bangalore yesterday after Sunday’s ceremonial flag-off with some 96 vehicles participating in different categories.

The rally started from Bangalore amidst light showers in the early hours of the morning yesterday for six short super stages, traversing a total of 403 kms during the day to reach Mysore.

Rana displaying his mastery in no uncertain manner to top the overall time charts clocking one hour, four minutes and 12 seconds on a day, negotiated the two tricky Competitive Stages that were run thrice near Tiptur.

Amanpreet Ahluwalia and co-driver Venu Ramesh in a Gypsy with a time of (01:05:18) was behind the eight times Raid de Himalaya Champion Rana while Bangalorean Sanjay Agarwal (E Shivaprakash), also in a Gypsy was lying third with 01:07:51.

Joshua of TVS Racing, who crashed out last year, braving spells of rain, rode briliantly to clock 01:06:54, ahead of team-mate and 2012 champion Nataraj Rajanna (01:07:27) also on an Apache while Mohit Verma astride a KTM Duke was third in 01:07:56.

Of the 12 four-wheelers, nine managed to complete Leg 1 while 11 of the 15 bikes and three of the six scooters that were flagged off from Bangalore made it to the night halt in Mysore.

The competitors left for Ooty via Kodagu early this morning on the second Leg and will move about 80 kms towards Coffee and Pepper plantations of Coorg where three stages totaling 78 kms will take place. The rally will then traverse almost 230 kms through very wet Malnad region via Nagarhole National Park, through the southernmost tip of Deccan Plateau in Kearala at Wayanad and climb up tangled jungles and deep valleys towards Nilgiris and reach Ooty by end of the day.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore