Bengaluru, July 16 (IANS) The ninth edition of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare was flagged off from here on Sunday, with a strong participation of over 180 rallyists in the annual southern motorsport rally.

The event will witness a tweak in the route, with the rally moving into the terrains of western India, culminating in Pune on July 22.

For the first time, the rally will make its way towards Pune while covering the most scenic yet challenging terrains of Chitradurga, Belgaum and Kolhapur covering a total 2,200 km.

The rally was flagged off from Orion Mall, Rajaji Nagar here and the first leg of the rally will take off on Monday morning, according to a release.

The rally is divided into three categories — Endurance, Ultimate Car and Ultimate Bike; and will witness participating teams covering approximately 2000 km over a span of six days.

To ensure safety, all the participants undergo a strict scrutiny check one day prior to the flag-off.

The event will witness Team Maruti Suzuki’s Suresh Rana and Aswin Naik driving the Grand Vitara, the winners of last edition, battling out with Sandeep Sharma and Karan Arya driving Maruti Suzuki Gypsy in the Ultimate cars category.

In their Vitara Brezza, Jagmeet Gill and Chandan Sen will toughen the competition for the duo of Karthik Maruthi and Sankar Anand driving the S-Cross in the endurance car category.

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