Ashima Duggal (Amrita Shergill) win Divas on Wheels rally

Coorg, January 17: Fast-improving rallyists Ashima Duggal and navigator Amrita Shergill rode on their opening day’s advantage to capture the challenging Divas on Wheels all-women’s car rally here on Saturday evening.

Ashima and Amrita had a rough second and final day, picking up 3 minutes and 28 seconds penalty points in their run from Chikmagaluru to Coorg. But their near faultless driving on Friday that saw them collect only 2 minutes and 53 seconds penalty ensured that they were not toppled from the top place.

Prafulla KS (with Sandhya Chandrashekar) had the best day, garnering only 1 minutes 48 seconds to claim the first runners’-up position. They had amassed 7 minutes and 36 seconds on Day 1 which prevented them from taking the coveted prize.

Shobha Ravi (with Nilofer Ibrahim) clinched the third place with an overall penalty of 13 minutes and 08 seconds.

“The top three finishers, apart from winning handsome cash prizes and trophies, will get a free drive in the next Dakshin Dare,” Jai Das Menon, the organiser of the TSD (Time Speed Distance) Rally, said. “All these women have been rallying for barely a year. They have shown tremendous improvement,” he added.

Ashima and Amrita, who like to call themselves the underdogs, conceded the second day was much tougher, with the self TCs (Time Controls) proving to be a big challenge.

“It was a very tough day and we know we made quite a few mistakes,” Ashima said. “Luckily we had a very good opening day but until the results are out, we are going to be anxious,” she added, as the participants eagerly waited for the results, with picturesque mountains in the backdrop.

“We were tired of finishing number two,” Amrita said, pointing out that they had finished behind the winners in 5 out of their last 7 rallies. “But then, we tasted success and now our goal is to finish first each time,” she said.

If Day One was all about finding their way through quaint villages and off-road tracks from Bengaluru to Chikmagaluru, the final day brought along a new set of challenges for the 30 participants from all parts of the country. 

The route from Chikmagaluru to Coorg involved steep climbs, numerous twists and turns and hairpin bends, forcing the teams (driver and navigator) to be extra cautious.

“We made some silly errors on Day 1,” second-placed Prafulla said. “We were extra cautious today which helped us recover lot of ground,” she added.

The 35-year-old Ashima declared that it was one of her toughest rallies. “It was quite challenging and required a lot of quick decision-making, and relying on our instincts.”

Results: 1. Ashima Duggal and Amrita Shergill 6 minutes 21 seconds penalty points, 2. Prafulla K.S. and Sandhya Chandrashekhar (7.59), 3. Shobha Ravi and Nilofer Ibrahim (13.08).


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