132 motorists set out in Raid-de-Himalaya rallyOctober 2nd, 2008 - 1:15 pm ICT by IANS
Shimla, Oct 2 (IANS) Daredevil motorists set out on the rugged Himalayan ranges during the tenth edition of the world’s toughest motor rally, Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya from Himachal Pradesh’s state capital early Thursday morning.During the 2,050-km rally, 132 motorists will test their endurance, skill and luck on the most arduous and inhospitable terrains of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir over the next eight days.
“The Raid-de-Himalaya started from Shimla in the early hours of Thursday and will pass through the hostile terrains of the cold deserts of Lahaul and Spiti and Ladakh districts,” president of the Himalayan Motorsport Association Vijay Parmar told IANS on phone.
“Of course, the route is quite tough and the pressure on the participants is extreme. This will not only test their (participants) level of endurance but also enables the motorists to admire the scenic beauty of the majestic Himalayas,” he said.
The 2,050-km rally will pass through Manali, Kaza, Keylong, Sarchu and Kargil.
“This time we (the organisers) have made some changes in the original route as some stretches have been damaged badly due to the recent heavy rain and snowfall,” said Manjeev Bhalla, another organiser of the event.
“The ‘Raid’ will end at Leh instead of Srinagar as originally planned. For the first time, the roar of the engines will echo in the Zanskar region of Ladakh. In the final leg, the rally will touch Kargil and return to Leh,” he said.
The rally has once again featured on the international off-road rallies calendar of the Federation of International Motorsport, Geneva.
As many as 132 professionals are participating in the ‘Raid’; 35 motorbikes and 37 four-wheelers are in the ‘X-treme’ category and remaining in the adventure trial category.
“The Indian army has sent 10 teams. There are eight women and three foreigners among the participants. All foreigners are in the two-wheeler category,” Bhalla added.