Waynad: Treading his way rather carefully, National champion Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) led his Mahindra team-mate Lohitt Urs (Chapong Chaiwan) by three minutes, 35 seconds at the end of the first day in the 2000Kms long Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare Rally that took a night halt here Tuesday.
Though experiencing some damper problems and despite conceding a 20-second penalty for late check-in after service halt, Gill, in a Mahindra XUV 500, was still quick enough to outpace his rivals.
"I didn't take any risks and there is still a long way to go," said Gill while Urs lost three minutes in the day's sixth and final special stage after hitting a rock.
"My front right tyre suffered a puncture about three kms from the finish of the last stage and it cost me three minutes," said Urs.
Meanwhile, another top contender in the Ultimate category, Sanjay Agarwal (Anoop Kumar) went out of contention after a blown engine about eight kms from the start of the day's first special stage.
"The engine started smoking and it expired. I am replacing the engine and will join the rally on Wednesday," said Agarwal.
In the Endurance category that is run on a TSD (time-speed-distance) format, Sanjay Takale (Mustafa) enjoyed a six-second lead over last year's winner and the husband-wife combination of Satish Gopalakrishnan and Savera D'Souza.
Provisional results (Day 1):
Ultimate: Gaurav Gill / Musa Sherif 1 (1hr, 07mins, 50secs); Lohitt Urs / Chapong Chaiwan 2 (01:11:25).
Endurance: Sanjay Takale / Mustafa 1 (11secs penalty); Satish Gopalakrishnan / Savera D'Souza 2 (17secs); KP Karthick / S Sankar Anand 3 (22secs). (IANS)