Paro, Feb 27: Reigning tiol Time Speed Distance (TSD) champions Ajgar Ali and Mohammed Mustafa (co-driver) cruised to the lead after first two legs of the Biswa Bangla JK Tyre Himalayan Drive 5 here on Monday.
Subir Roy and Nirav Mehta (co-driver) were placed second followed by Deep Dutta and Prakash Muthuswamy (co-driver). Bengal boy Ajgar and Tamil du's Mustapha braved sub zero temperatures and almost zero visibility due to mist as they traversed the hilly terrains of Bhutan to end the day in the treacherous riverbed ahead of their rivals in the tiol category. In the open category, Amit Garg and Abhishek Khemka (co-driver) are top of the tree. On the first day, dense fog coupled with dipping mercury greeted the 46 rallyists (18 in the tiol and open category) on their way from Siliguri to Paro.
Day two was shorter and smoother albeit the riverbed area at the end which had multiple entry points making vigation cumbersome.
"We are rallying for the first time in Paro, Bhutan. The loop and the speed was okay today and we enjoyed it. Three days left, let's see," Mustafa told IANS at the end of the second day.
"In the mountains, you cannot maintain speed. This is a high speed TSD where the difference is in the terrain. It is difficult to maintain speed. In the riverbeds, it is difficult to get the routes. Like in big junctions, it is easily figured out. But in riverbeds, what happens is there are multiple tracks which can be misleading and you have to get the right road in less time," Ali said. IANS