Participating in his first
rally on Indian soil, Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s Joaquim Rodrigues won the
India Baja 2017 organised by Northern Motorsport. Popularly called JRod, he
blazed through the second leg of the India Baja rally to finish in first place
in the overall general classifications. This is also the first win for Hero
MotoSports Team Rally, since its inception in 2016.
The second position in the
race was won by Aravind KP of Sherco TVS, while the 3rd position was won by
Tanveer Abdul Wahid of TVS Racing.
The India Baja 2017 – Dakar
Challenge Series came to its end with a day of scintillating action with the
completion of the fifth and sixth stage of the competition. The end of the
rally brought good news for the Bengaluru based TVS Motorsports rider Abdul
Wahid Tanveer who became the third Moto contender from India to qualify for ASO
organised Dakar Rally 2018 to be held between Peru – Bolivia – Argentina with a
prize worth 20,000 Euros. This also ensures the 26-year-old rider a direct
qualification into the Merzouga Rally in Morocco later this year.
Abdul Wahid Tanveer qualified in spite of being third overall in Moto
category because Rodrigues and Aravind have already competed in the Dakar
Rally, which gives them an automatic qualification for the same.
Joaquim Rodrigues won the race
with almost a lead of 25 minutes followed by Aravind KP of TVS Racing at the
second place and his team mate Abdul Wahid Tanveer finishing in the third place
with an approximate difference of 15 minutes from Aravind KP.
Building on his overall lead
Joaquim made a strong start in the fifth stage on a hot morning in the Thar
Desert of Rajasthan and ended the sixth stage with a world class display of
riding to win the India Baja 2017 only on his first ever appearance in India.
Aravind KP who trailed by 18 minutes on Day 1 of the rally made very strong
efforts to come back but the difference proved to be too much for the Indian
rider. Abdul Tanveer on the other hand maintained a sustained run to ensure his
third position beating his rival and teammate R. Nataraj who was in the fourth
position at the end of four stages of the rally.
The Xtreme category saw a very
strong competition between Raj Singh Rathore and Gaurav Chiripal who trailed by
1 minute at the end of the first four stages. Gaurav Chiripal who was driving a
modified Vitara was finally able to make his efforts count as he beat Raj Singh
Rathore in the time trial in the last two stages of the rally making it his
first ever win in the India Baja 2017 rally. Gaurav Chiripal as a result of his
win will now get a direct entry into MS Desert Storm to be held next year. The
final results in the Xtreme category saw Gaurav Chiripal clinching first position
followed by Raj Singh Rathore with a difference of about five minutes from the
leader. The third position went to Himanshu Arora who made a splendid display
of character in 1350 CC gypsy.
Moto: 1. Joaquim
Rodrigues 04:45:22 seconds; 2. Aravind K.P. 05:10:46 secs; 3. Abdul Tanveer
Xtreme: 1. Gaurav
Chiripal/Karan Arya - 06:22:22 secs; 2. Raj Singh Rathore/Jeevarathinam J. -
06:27:49secs; 3. Himanshu Arora/Chira
Thakur 07:07:17 secs
The final leg of the Rally on
April 9, comprised of a shorter run of about 286 kms, out of which 140 kms made
up the timed sections. The two special sections of the day ran for 88 and 52
kms respectively, around the famous “Turkon ki Basti” in San region of
Jaisalmer, that offers a fast yet difficult track to the riders with undulating
terrain, habitation, and thick bushes all along.
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