Six-time ‘Raid’ winner in top gear againOctober 10th, 2011 - 4:56 pm ICT by IANS
Shimla, Oct 10 (IANS) Suresh Rana, six-time winner and defending champion of Raid-de-Himalaya, one of the world’s toughest off-road motor rallies beginning here Tuesday, will focus on preserving the vehicle and finishing at the top again.
“This time I will focus more on preserving the vehicle. In the last rally (Mughal Road Car Rally) my vehicle broke down in the final stage,” Rana, 38, popularly known as the ‘king of racers’, told IANS here.
He’s participating in the ‘Raid’ for the ninth time and the Maruti Gypsy is his favourite machine.
The 13th edition of the six-day Raid-de-Himalaya, comprising 162 rallyists, including 44 in the X-treme category, will be flagged off from here Tuesday.
After passing through rugged and inhospitable terrains of trans-Himalayas, the rally will conclude in Srinagar Oct 16.
Rana, who won the Desert Storm 2009 in the X-treme category for the first time, said in the last two Mughal rallies (in Jammu and Kashmir), his vehicle broke down.
“Though Mughal is comparatively less tough and challenging than the Raid, I have full faith that my machine will not ditch me,” said Rana, who runs a motor garage near Manali.
He said in the treacherous terrain of the ‘Raid’, winding roads and extreme cold climatic conditions posing challenges to the motorists.
“Braving all odds, you need to guard your machine from certain kinds of damage.”
In 2009 too, his vehicle suffered clutch failure when he was close to capturing the ‘Raid’.
Rana won the 12th edition of the Raid-de-Himalaya in the X-treme car category for the sixth time in October 2010.
Manjeev Bhalla, vice-president of the Himalayan Motorsport Association (HMA), the Shimla-based club that annually organises the rally, said the 1,950-km-long cross-country motor race comprised transport and competitive sections.
“In the extreme category, the participants will negotiate 11 mountain passes of more than 10,000 feet high, including the 18,300-ft Khardung La, the highest,” he said.
Participants in the adventure category will enter Jammu and Kashmir through Bhaderwah and pass through Kishtwar, Kokernag and Anantnag to reach Srinagar on the third day.
They will join the X-treme category motorists at Randum in the Zanskar Valley on the following day. Thereafter both categories will follow a common route till the conclusion of the rally in Srinagar.
Anurag Breja is the only paraplegic motorist in the contest in the adventure category. Suffering from spinal cord tumour, Breja was paralysed below the waist in 2002.
He will be driving a modified hand-controlled Mitsubishi Pajero sports utility vehicle (SUV).
“I will both drive and navigate during the motor rally. My brother-in-law Rajish Jacob would accompany me,” said Delhi-based Breja, who holds an ‘invalid carriage driving licence’.
This is the first time a disabled motorist is participating in the ‘Raid’.
Eight foreigners - five bikers from Austria and three four-wheeler motorists from Belgium - are also competing.
Ace drivers in the X-treme category, Sunny Sidhu and Major A.S. Brar, will also try their luck.
The Raid-de-Himalaya is the only Asian motor sport event listed on the off-road rallies calendar of the Switzerland-based FIM (Federation Internationale Motorcyclisme), which captures the attention of the international rallying circuit as well.
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- Raid-de-Himalaya rally set to begin Oct 1 - Sep 18, 2011
- Suresh, Ashish win Raid-de-Himalaya rally - Oct 16, 2010
- Major Brar, Moudgil win Raid-de-Himalaya rally - Oct 13, 2009
- Rains, landslides force changes in Himalayan motor rally - Oct 06, 2010
- Raid-de-Himalaya champion aims to retain title - Oct 02, 2009
- 175 motorists to set out in Raid-de-Himalaya - Sep 08, 2010
- Rana, Naik lead in Raid de Himalya rally - Oct 12, 2011
- Kashmir's Mughal motor rally to have bikes too - Apr 15, 2012
- Three all-women teams in Raid-de-Himalaya rally - Oct 06, 2009
- India's auto giants to battle it out in J&K; Rally - Jun 06, 2012
- Rana, Naik top Raid de Himalaya - Oct 17, 2011
Tags: car category, car rally, defending champion, desert storm, himalayan, himalayas, hma, jammu and kashmir, manali, motor garage, motor rallies, ninth time, raid de himalaya, rana, road car, sixth time, time winner, treacherous terrain, winding roads, x treme