Pune’s rally driver Sanjay Takale nailed his opponents with a double podium finish in the recently-concluded Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) held in Johor Bahru over the weekend.
Takale gave one-of-its-kind performance in his Subaru Impreza on the wet and slippery course through the palm oil plantations in Kota Tinggi region of Johor Bahru to first win the Malaysian Rally Championship by a comprehensive margin in beating former Production Cup World Champion Karamjit Singh.
Takale went on to finish second overall in the APRC title race after his teammate Michael Young and German contestant Fabian Kreim failed to withstand the challenging terrain.
The APRC title was, however, claimed by India’s Gaurav Gill, driving his MRF-Skoda R5 with Glenn MacNeall, with a round to spare.
The APRC finals will be held at the Coffee Day Estate in Chikmaglur near Bengaluru from December 3 to 5.
“I sang the National Anthem on the podium of APRC. Gaurav (Gill) had taken the title and I came second, but it really does not matter as long as an Indian registers a win,” said Takale.
For the second time in APRC history, the podium ceremony saw two Indian flags going up.
The first was in 2013 at the New Caledonia Rally which also saw Gaurav finishing at the top while Sanjay Takale took the second place. That same year, Takale also became the first Indian to win APRC Production Cup title.
In the overall championship though, Takale remains at the fourth position.
He has narrowed down the 35-point gap between him and Young to just five points with the India Rally remaining to be run. In the Production Cup too, the 57-point gap with Young has been reduced to 18 points as the New Zealander failed to earn any points owing to not finishing the rally.