Mysore, April 8 (IANS) Some of country's best-known rally drivers, including national champion Gaurav Gill, Lohitt Urs and Bangalore's "Gypsy King" Sanjay Agarwal, headline a strong field of contenders in the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare Rally that is scheduled for a ceremonial start at the Palace here Monday.
The 2,000 Kms long rally that is to be run on a Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) format, will be flagged off Tuesday morning. The route takes the competitors through some of the most scenic spots in Kodagu, Wynad and the Nilgiris regions before finishing in Bangalore April 14.
Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) and Urs, who will be partnered by Thailand's Chapong Chaiwan, are driving a Mahindra XUV 500 as a team while Agarwal, a multiple national champion in the Gypsy class, has Anoop Kumar as his navigator.
Also in the fray is the husband-wife tandem of Satish Gopalakrishnan and Savera D'Souza who won the event last year in a Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara while Veena Ponappa heads an all-woman team.
Urs, who enjoys a super star status in his hometown Mysore, finished third overall in the 2011 Raid de Himalaya where team Mahindra made its debut in the XUV, and was hopeful of bettering the performance in Dakshin Dare.
"I am looking forward to the event. Both our cars are in good condition and we hope to do well," said Urs who tested his vehicle in Bangalore earlier in the week.
For Agarwal, it will be a test of his patience as the TSD format is not all about raw speed, but puts premium on navigational skills.
With over two decades of experience in the sport, Agarwal enjoys a reputation for his dare devilry that has always provided spectacular moments.
"I am in the process of providing finishing touches to my Gypsy in which I had taken part in the Raid de Himalaya last year. Fortunately, the vehicle has no major damage and I am looking forward to my debut in Dakshin Dare," said Agarwal.
Shashank Srivastava, Chief General Manager, Marketing, Maruti Suzuki India, said: "In recent years the popularity of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare has grown manifold in the region, making it one of the most sought after rallying event.
"Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare this year too will surely bring out the best of Man, Machine and Method, testing the participants in multi-terrains and bring the ultimate joy of motorsports."