Sri Lankan rally driver Shafraz Junaid and co-driver Akhry Ameer emerged second runners-up in the T2 – 2WD above 1851cc category at the Maruti-Suzuki Dakshin Dare cross-country motor rally which concluded in Goa over the weekend.
The Maxxis Xtreme Racing team duo, which have been making a name for the country’s rally fraternity with their international participation, were the first to attempt this popular event and emerge ninth overall in their own vehicle amidst a line-up of two factory teams and other leading Indian drivers.
Asian rally champion Gaurav Gill led the pack comfortably with the rest of Team Mahindra, followed by the line-up of Suzuki-Maruti vehicles. Shafraz Junaid got off to a rocky start with a diesel starvation issue in the opening stage, losing nearly six minutes and later additional time in service to end 14th at the end of the first leg. Subsequently they returned consistent times to attack the middle order until the penultimate stage when his wiper motor gave way in a crucial wet foggy 70-km-long stage. They managed to complete the stage with a textbook rally practice of tying the co-driver’s shoe laces and operating the wiper manually, thus losing time.
“We are happy with our result. This was our first cross-country rally and it was uncharted territory. Amidst the challenges of an individual entry having to handle our own shipping, transport and service logistics, we were lucky that we didn’t have to worry about tires and Maxxis provided us with tire choices for gravel and tarmac stages,” said driver Junaid of his performance.
The participants were pushed to their limits in the 10th edition of this event, having to drive a combination of special stages and transport stages averaging 500 km a day from Bangalore to Goa.
“As an international participant the challenge is even greater for us. We are grateful to Maxxis, SriLankan Airlines, HTL Logistics, J Homes, Iddamal Apartments, Pro Mech Autoworks and Drego 4x4 Racing (India), all of whom played various roles in making our participation successful. Besides this, the Ceylon Motor Sports Club, Sri Lanka Automobile Racing, Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India as administrative bodies also helped us immensely with aspects of homologation and licensing,” said co-driver Akhry Ameer when speaking on the management of participation logistics.
SriLankan Airlines Promotions and Corporate Events Manager Gayan Peiris said: “As the national carrier of Sri Lanka, which fosters local talent and supports it to reach global pinnacles, we are pleased to support the two rally champions in their newest venture. With our consolidated presence in the subcontinent as the airline that operates in the most number of cities in India, we are glad to have facilitated Shafraz and Akry’s travel to Bangalore.”
A total of nearly 70 competitors took part in the Dakshin Dare in various categories of bikes, TSD (Time, Speed, Duration) and Ultimate Cars throughout the event held from 2-7 September.
Dakshin Dare Ultimate Cars – T2 – 2WD above 1851cc
1. Gaurav Gill/Musa Sherif - Team Mahindra Adventure - 6:57:44 (Overall Winner)
2. Phillippos Mathai/PVS Murthy - Team Mahindra Adventure - 6:57:44 (Overall Winner) – 7:12:00 (Overall Runner-up)
3. Shafraz Junaid/Akhry Ameer – Maxxis Xtreme Racing – 8:05:01 (Overall 9th)