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Gaurav Chiripal conquers India Baja 2017

Gaurav Chiripal conquers India Baja 2017
Omkar Thakur Omkar Thakur Monday 10 April 2017, 13:00 PM

India Baja is a cross-country rally racing event organised by Northern Motorsport in the challenging geography of Rajasthan that includes rocky roads, sand dunes and a lot of heat to add to the woes. It runs through a competitive distance of about 430kms over six timed stages excluding the transport distance between the special stages. Gaurav Chiripal, with co-driver Karan Arya, claimed the top honours at the India Baja 2017 with a five-minute lead over the second place.

The race started at 6:00 AM on Saturday racing through approximately 270kms of competitive distance spread over four stages. The race flagged off from Majid ki Basti near Jaisalmer with 32 participants zooming off the start line. Stage 2 was held in the sand dunes of Asu Tar followed by stage 3 which started from Banda. At the end of stage 4 in Bhuwana, only 14 of the 32 participants managed to cross the finish line while the others either crashed, broke down or lost their way over four stages. Stage three turned out to be the toughest contributing to a major chunk of DNFs.

At the end of Day 1, Raj Singh Rathore turned out to be the fastest man on four wheels, finishing before Gaurav Chirpal by almost a minute. Himanshu Arora delivered a strong performance and held on to the third place in those tricky conditions. Rallying veteran and favourite Sunny Sidhu unfortunately lost his way in stage 2, ending up with a DNF. The blistering Rajasthan heat and tough conditions combined with a difficult terrain took a toll on the drivers as well as machines.

After an intriguing Day 1 in the sandy terrain of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, Day 2 turned out to be even more fun with. With just two timed stages to go and a one minute lead to surmount, Gaurav displayed some splendid driving skills to clock an overall timing of 06:22:22 hours over six stages.

Gaurav, driving a fully modified Suzuki Vitara with co-driver Karan Arya, finished five minutes ahead of Raj Singh Rathore driving the Isuzu V-Cross. On the other hand, Himanshu Arora with co0drive Chira Thakur displayed great grit and character driving the puny 1.3-litre Maruti Gypsy to claim the overall third position at the India Baja 2017 clocking 07:07:17 hours over the six stages.

Winner of the India Baja 2017, Gaurav Chiripal gets direct entry to the MS Desert Storm to be held in 2018. Northern Motorsport have been the pioneers of the India Baja series and have gone to great lengths to organise world-class rally events in the country and to provide budding riders and drivers a platform to display and hone their skills along with a chance to get into the bigger game of international rallying. Also, it was heartening to see women participants fighting neck-to-neck with their male counterparts, taking both victory and defeat in their stride and displaying true sportsperson spirit.


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