Desert Storm: Defending champ Mishra, France’s Metge surge into the lead
Bikaner, May 9: Defending champion Aabhishek Mishra gave a glimpse of his vast experience as he befriended tough terrains and blazing conditions to surge into the lead after SS4 on Day 2 of the Desert Storm here on Thursday evening.
The Team Sparky’s Garage star, with Srikanth Gowda as co-driver, made the most of overnight leader Sunny Sidhu’s misfortune in the Extreme Category to wrest back the initiative with a total time of 03:22:46 hours after the morning stage. Team Mahindra Adventure’s Sidhu (with Ashwin Naik) had looked in fine fettle on Day 1 but the heat got to him and his car, throwing him to the middle of the pack after SS4.
His teammate Gaurav Gill (and Musa Sherif), who was trailing in the fourth position after Day 1, however, made up for his struggles, making his move in the morning and jumping to the second position. He recorded a remarkable timing of 01:10:11 in SS4 for a cumulative tally of 03:25:46, just three minutes off the leader. Samrat Yadav ((co-driver Kunal Kashyap) held on to his third position.
France’s Adrian Metge of TVS Racing was the unquestioned leader in the Moto Category, with a total time of 02:03:34 hours after SS 1 and 2 on Wednesday and SS4 on Thursday. Chasing him was India’s star biker CS Santosh of Hero Motosports (02:11:20) and Abdul Wahid Tanveer, also of TVS Racing.
In the Ndure Category, Ankur Chauhan (co-driver Prakash M) was in the lead with a cumulative leg penalty of just 13 minutes 38 seconds after 8 sections. He was followed by Deepak Sachdeva (co-driver Japjyot Singh Dhingra) and Capt Abhilash Singh (co-driver Aashish Agarwal).
As many as 8 participants in the Moto and 4 in the Xtreme category bowed down before the fury of the desert, failing to complete the stages on Day 1.
Strong contender Sanjay Agarwal (co-driver Smitha N) in fact saw his Maruti Vitara go up in flames not too far from the start, due to heating & electrical issues.
“This year the heat has been extreme but I enjoyed Day 1. Stage 1 was a little more challenging than 2 but both were equally fast. I had a couple of falls but it was all fun and thankfully no major injury,” Aishwarya Pissay from Team TVS Racing, who is in the 23rd position in the Moto Category, said.
The 41-km SS 1 for Moto and Extreme categories started from Noorsar village in Bikaner district while the 46-km SS 2 took off from Rajasar village. The Extreme drivers even took part in the night stage, a 41-km stretch starting from Kelan village