Maruti Suzuki has flagged off the 19th edition of Raid De Himalaya arena rally from Manali. Over 170 motorsport enthusiasts in 110 teams are participating in this rally which will culminate at Leh for the prize distribution ceremony on October 14. The rally will be taking place at an extremely high altitude of 17,500 feet with temperatures as low as -15°C and will traverse through the terrains of Kaza, Sarchu, Pang, Leh, Kargil and Pensi La. With safety given the utmost priority, all the participants underwent a strict scrutiny check one day prior the flag-off.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sanjeev Handa, Vice President, Marketing, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. said, “Keeping up with our commitment of providing adrenaline rush and thrusting challenges, we are pleased to flag-off yet another exciting journey amidst huge fanfare. Rated among the top ten most difficult rallies in the world, the premiere motorsport spectacle of the country has grown slowly but strongly into the rallying phenomenon it is today. From a small rally that began in 1999 with just 19 teams, it has been a long journey since then and has seen over 110 teams and over 170 participants go head to head for the most coveted title in Indian rallying history.”
Winning last year’s top title, Team Maruti Suzuki Motorsport’s Suresh Rana co driven by PVS Murthy with look to defend titles in their Grand Vitara. Sandeep Sharma and Karan Arya in their S. Cross, Hari Krishnan and Dinesh Dhankar in their Ignis, Dhram Pal Jangra and Thinless Namgail in Vitara Brezza and Samrat Yadav and S.N. Nizami driving Gypsy. Cutting it close will be 6 women teams as well as 8 Army teams, which would be taking part across categories this year. The rally is divided into three categories – X-treme Cars, X-treme Bikes and Adventure; and will cover about 1850 kms over a span of 7 days. For those asking, Raid-de-Himalaya is one of the two off-road Indian motor rallies listed in the annual motorsport calendar of Switzerland based Federation Internationale Automobile (FIA) and Federation Internationale Motorcyclisme (FIM).