Belgaum, Sep 6 (IANS) Samrat Yadav jumped two places in the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare to catapult to the third spot even as five-time INRC champion Gaurav Gill maintained his vice-like grip on the top position after the penultimate leg here on Thursday.
After four gruelling days of driving through dirt, gravel and tough terrains, Samrat made his upward move, posting the second best timing of the day (41.14 minutes) in the three Special Stages.
With Gill (and co-driver Musa Sherif) and Philippos Mathai (with PVS Moorthy) holding on to the first two places, all eyes were on the brewing battle between Maruti’s Sandeep Sharma (with Anmol Rampal) and Mahindra Adventure’s Amitrajjit Ghosh (with Ashwin Naik).
But it was Samrat who proved to be the star of the day, posting some of the fastest timings. His 00:14:57 in the day’s first Special Stage (SS12) was even faster than Gill’s timing of 00:15:21, making it thrice in a row after he had bested Gill in the last two Special Stages of Wednesday too.
He was faster than the second-placed Philippos in the other two Special Stages as well, allowing him to go into the final leg of the rally high on confidence.
The fight between Sandeep and Amittrajit, however, ended in a disaster for the latter. He was knocked out of the reckoning due to a damage in his fuel coupler just three kilometres before the end of the third and final stage of the day.
Sandeep couldn’t maintain his pace of the previous two days but aggregated 6:05:37 minutes to be in the fourth place, still in sight of the podium.
In the bike category, Yuva Kumar and Aakash Aital continued to be in the first and second positions while Vinay Prasad grabbed the third position going into the last day.