Pune: Former Asia-Pacific Aerpace racers team driver Sanjay Takale made waves at the iconic Circuit Paul Ricard in Marseille, France in his maiden appearance in the World motorsports games with FIA, the world governing body of motorsports acknowledging him with a special trophy to his surprise even though he and his co-driver Mike Young of Australia were not among the top finishers. Driving a left-hand-drive French made Peugeot, Aerpace Racers driver Takale, who represented India at the 2nd edition of the World Motorsports Games, finished 8th in his Rally4 class.
“When the podium ceremony was on, I heard my name being called and I was really surprised. Later the FIA officials told me they were acknowledging my bravery and driving style. Since I was driving a left-hand drive car for the first time and that it was my first tarmac rally.
More importantly the Pune driver Takale was awarded a special appreciation trophy and given the first finisher cap, traditionally reserved for the winner.
“Basically, FIA said they were thoroughly impressed with the way I took on the European drivers, who regularly drive left-hand drive cars.” Said Takale from Marseille.
“They told me at this age ,54, you drove like a youngster. “Takale quoted a FIA official.
“I think what went in my favour was that I broke no French traffic rules, which one could in a closed and fortified arena, “explained Takale.
There were 38 entries in rally format, in the rally4 class, in which Takale participated there were 12 entries. He qualified at 9th in the Qualifying round, which was run at night. Finally, he did well to improve his position by one place riding on super performing Pirelli tyres. ”given that I drove tarmac rally for the first time in a left-hand drive car, it was a good learning curve for me ”said Takale.
The rally class were run in three formats Rally2, Rally3, Rally4 and historic cars.
Takale’s co-driver Mike young said he was happy to be his navigator as
“We are good friends and we were teammates in Cusco Subaru team from Japan for four years,” said Young .
“It was a good experience for him to at this event. I had already co-driven him in the 2016 rally Estonia,” Young said. the duo had finished 2nd in Estonia. Praising Takale’s driving in Marseille, Young said even though six years have passed since they together took part in competition. “ Takale has retained his control over the car. He speeds up nicely when needed”, Young added.
Takale could have finished much higher in the rankings had it not been for the jam he got into in the 6th stage of transport section. Takale finished the 6th stage 8 minutes late for which he was handed 80 seconds penalty, which cost his final placings as he was placed 8th after Day 2 of action.
On Day 3 Takale managed to hold on to his 8th position, but a Dutch driver was ahead of him by a small margin, which made it difficult for him to move up to 7th position.
“Many other drivers broke the traffic rules, but we decided to stay within traffic rules and finished the transport stage even though we got late “Takale said.