Superstar Salman’s brother Sohail Khan is a self-confessed “big fan”of Suresh Rana, Manali’s champion rallyist who has won the iconic Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya nine out of the total 15 times it has been organized.
At the end of the third day of the rally today, Sohail was 13th overall in Raid Adventure among 51 teams competing in this category. Sohail is driving a Gypsy for Team Maruti.The 16th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya 2014 started from Shimla on October 5. Rana, the most formidable competitor in marathon motorsport in the country, continues to keep a vice-like grip on Raid Xtreme (4X4) with a lead of six minutes over his closest competitor.
Sohail Khan met Suresh Rana at Kaza, the desert town in Spiti valley.Sohail warmly hugged Rana and told the legendary rallyist that he had beenwaiting to meet him since coming for the Raid.Sohail wanted to compete in Raid Xtreme (4X4), the high-speed, high-risk category, but could not do so. Raid rules specify that first-time rallyists can compete only in Raid Adventure, the safer format of rallying which follows the Time-Speed-Distance format. From the 20th position on Day One,Sohail rose on the 14th position on the second day of the rally, and made it to the 13th position on Day Three.
Manohar Bhat, Vice President (Marketing) of Maruti Suzuki, said that only 25 out of the total 41 teams in Raid Xtreme (4X4) could successfully make it to the finish line at the end of Day Three. In Raid Adventure, only
40 of the total 51 teams are left running in the event. Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya is one of the top ten toughest motorsport rallies in the world.After the third day’s competitive stretches today, Sohail spent about
half-an-hour with Rana, and discussed the nuances of high-speed rallying.In Rally Xtreme, Jaipur champion Raj Singh Rathore survived a tyre burst two days in a row. On Day Two, the jagged bed of Chandra river burst the tyre of his Polaris 900, when Raj was on a speed of approximately 120 kilometers an hour. Today, the tyre burst happened when Raj was speeding at Komic, one of the highest human settlements in the world about 4,500 feet above sea level.
Suresh Rana, who is driving a Grand Vitara for Team Maruti, is leading Raid Xtreme (4X4) with a time-score of 4.26.06 hours. Abhishek Verma of Team Thunderbolt, driving a Grand Vitara, is second with a time-score of 4.32.16 minutes. Capt AVS Gill of Team Army, driving a Maruti Gypsy, is third with a time-score of 4.43.15 hours.In Raid Xtreme (Motorcycles), Nataraj R of Bangalore, driving a TVS RTR 450 is first with a time-score of 4.10.27 hours. Suresh Babu of Delhi, driving a Suzuki RMX 450Z is second, with a time-score of 4.43.33 hours. Sourabh Handa, driving a KTM Duke 390, is third with a time-score of 4.42.52 hours.
Subir Roy and navigator Nirav Mehta, driving a Maruti Gypsy, are leading Raid Adventure with total penalties of 1.41 hours. Jagmeet Gill and navigator Chandan Sen, also driving a Maruti Gypsy, are second with total
penalties of 2.16 hours. Rajesh Chalana and Yogesh Gupta, driving a Maruti Swift, are third in Raid Adventure at the end of Day Three, with total penalties of 2.23 hours.Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya will cross some of the highest mountain passes in the world including Baralacha La and Shingo La before ending at Manali on October 10.