Motorsports: Rathore, Santosh keep lead

Jaisalmer, Feb 26: Raj Singh Rathore and C.S. Santosh held their positions to top the overall classifications in the Xtreme and Moto categories, respectively, at the end of Leg 2 near Bikaner in the 2014 Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm cross country rally which reached here Wednesday.

Rathore, driving a Polaris Ranger with co-driver Vishnu Singh, came up with a stupendous effort to maintain his overall first position despite running out of fuel at the end of the day’s first of the two special stages totalling 169.80 Km.

Sunny Sidhu (co-driver P.V. Srinivasa Murthy) of Team Mahindra Adventure and piloting the XUV 500, also nursed his second slot in overall classification, but nearly 15 minutes behind Rathore.

Team Thunderbolt from Chandigarh had plenty to cheer as Sandeep Sharma (co-driver Varun Davessar) in a Maruti Gypsy climbed to third position, but trailing Sidhu by nearly an hour.

The top two positions in the Moto-Quad category also remained unchanged with Bangalore’s C.S. Santosh, riding a Suzuki RMX 450, consolidated his position by extending lead to 40 minutes over Austrian Helum Frauwallner who was astride a Yamaha WR 450F.

However, Trivikram Singh Rathore on a KTM 450 XCW moved up to third place, pushing past Mohit Verma whose KTM Duke 390 suffered problems.

The second of the two stages, spread over 108 km, tested the men and machines to the limit while there was plenty of drama as some of the crews lost their way across the large expanse of sand, thus losing precious time before regaining the route.

The rally will resume Thursday morning for the third Leg comprising four special stages totalling 198.13 Km before returning to Jaisalmer for a night halt.

Provisional overall classification (after Leg 2):

Xtreme: Raj Singh Rathore/Vishnu Singh (Polaris Ranger) 1 (6hrs, 34mins, 48secs); Sunny Sidhu/P.V.S. Murthy (Mahindra Adventure, XUV 500) 2 (06:49:35); Sandeep Sharma/Varun Davessar (Team Thunderbolt, Maruti Gypsy) 3 (07:16:13).

Moto-Quad: C.S. Santosh (Suzuki RMX450) 1 (04:24:50); Helmut Frauwallner (Yamaha WR 450F) 2 (05:04:21); Trivikram Singh Rathore (KTM 450XCW) 3 (05:21:22).

IANS