Coimbatore, April 12 (IANS) There appears a jinx about the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare as it completed Day Four on a sour note with three more Special Stages cancelled as the caravan wended its way into the textile town in the early hours of Thursday with the front-runners still looking in their rear-view mirrors.
While National champion Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) extended his lead over team-mate Lohit Urs (Chupong Chaiwan) to over seven minutes in the Ultimate category, Nataraj continued to lead in the two-wheeler section with Chetan Ganapathy trailing by over three minutes.
However, competition in the Endurance category (TSD format) was extremely tight. Last year's winners Satish Gopalakrishnan and his wife Savera D'Souza from Bangalore, caught up with overnight leader Sanjay Takale and Mustafa of Pune to tie with penalty timing of one minute, two seconds. In third and three seconds behind were KP Karthick Maruthi and Sankar Anand.
The proceedings though were marred by delays and confusion that eventually led to cancellation of three more stages at Palladam, near here.
On Wednesday, the competitors in the Ultimate category ran into trouble during the night run of the stage on the outskirts of Ooty with locals objecting to closing of the route that they use daily. Fortunately, the organizers sorted things out with the locals and the rally continued.
Adding to the competitors' woes was a further delay on Thursday when the stage run at Palladam, near here, was delayed by over an hour and it led to the third loop due to fading light.
Meanwhile, making a strong progress was Bangalore Sanjay Agarwal (Anoop Kumar) who made places in his Gypsy to be placed fourth overall as he blasted his way through the stages.
Notably, Agarwal, a late entrant, was very much on pace and not that far behind the two big guns, Gill and Urs who both were in the more powerful Mahindra XUV 500.
The results (Leg 3 - provisional):
Ultimate (cars): Gaurav Gill / Musa Sherif (Mahindra XUV 500) 1 (3hrs, 1min, 02secs); Lohit Urs / Chupong Chaiwan (Mahindra XUV 500) 2 (03:08:42); Anwar Khan / Nadeem Ahmed (Gypsy) 3 (03:25:21).
Bikes: Nataraj 1 (03:12:37); Chetan Ganapathy 2 (03:16:09); Raja 3 (03:21:39).
Endurance (TSD): Sanjay Takale / Mustafa and Satish Gopalakrishnan / Savera D'Souza 1 (01:02); KP Karthick Maruthi / Sankar Anand 3 (01:05).
Quad: Raj Singh Rathod 1 (01:31:32); Roopesh 2 (01:36:20).
Read More: Lohit | Maruthi Kunj | Musa Khera | Gill | Gill Seowal | Gill Kalan | Musa Nagar | Mustafa Bad | Sankar | Agarwal Mandi | Agarwal Paper Mill | Majra Anand Singh | Sanjay Place | Maruthi Sevanagar P.o. | Maruthi Extension | Sanjay Gandhi Nagar | Ganapathy | Palladam | Gaurav Nagar | Chetan Tola Khutha | Nad