WRC Rally Finland: Sanjay Takale finishes 14th in WRC 3 category
Jyväskylä (Finland), July 30: India’s Sanjay Takale on Sunday achieved another milestone as he became the first registered driver from his country to finish a round of the FIA World Rally Championship. He was classified 14th overall in the WRC 3 category of the gruelling Neste Rally Finland.
Pune-based Takale and his British co-driver Darren Garrod survived the 23 Special Stages over a total of 317.26 Kms, rated among the fastest in the WRC calendar, to bring their Baltic Motorsports Promotion-prepared 2-Wheel Drive Ford Fiesta home in 14th position.
Looking back on the four-day event which concluded on Sunday, Takale said: “Like any rally driver, I also dreamt of participating in and finishing a FIA World Rally Championship event. So, it was a dream come true for me to compete in and finish the fastest WRC event on our planet! It was an amazing experience overall and a steep learning curve for me overall. Probably, I could have fared better had I not lost time due to a puncture and twice having to repair the damaged lower arms of my car. However, that is part and parcel of rallying and I am not complaining.
“Going forward, I might do more WRC events. At the same time, I have to work on my fitness to do better in WRC rallies which are long and punishing. In the Neste Finland Rally, for instance, we covered a total distance of 1,400 Kms over four days, not counting the two days of reconnaissance runs. Right now, I want to savour these moments after completing a WRC event, though I have plenty to think about!”
Rally Finland known as Neste Rally Finland and formerly called 1000 Lakes Rally and Rally of the Thousand Lakes; is a world rally round held in Jyvaskyla at the Finnish Lakeland. The stages are on wide and smooth gravel roads, featuring blind crests and big jumps. It is the fastest event in the WRC and has been nicknamed the "Grand Prix of Rallying" and the "Grand Prix on Gravel" , attracting hundreds of thousands of rally fans from around the world.
Takale, who started Sunday’s Leg-3 in 13th position, dropped one spot after the day’s four Special Stages of 45.72 Kms.