It is full house in Shimla with motorsport champions from all parts of the country raring to set off on October 6 for the highest rally of the world – The Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya.The Raid, counted among the top ten toughest motorsport rallies globally, turns 15 this year with the highest number of competitors ever. The Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya will run this year from October 6 to 12. Scrutiny of all vehicles as per rally norms began at Shimla today, and will continue on October 5.The driver-navigator duo of Manali’s Suresh Rana and Mangalore’s Ashwin Naik are regarded as the most formidable team in Raid Xtreme. In the 14-year-old history of The Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya, Rana has won the Xtreme (4X4) title a record eight times. Naik is counted among the best navigators in the country. The duo aiming for the Raid Xtreme trophy in a Grand Vitara.
Challenging Rana for the Raid Xtreme crown will be Amanpreet Ahluwalia of Noida with navigator Venu Ramesh of Coimbatore, competing in a Gypsy. Ahluwalia was numero uno at The Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare in August.Mr Manohar Bhat, Vice President Marketing of Maruti Suzuki, said that the Raid De Himalaya is the only Indian motorsport event on the off-road rallies calendar of FIA (Federation Internationale Automobile).In Raid Adventure, which follows the Time-Speed-Distance format, husband-wife couple Satish Gopalkrishnan and Savera D’Souza driving an SX4 are a team to reckon with. Satish and Savera leads the Raid Adventure start order as favourites, closely followed by R Balaji Reddy from Chennai and R Sai Prasad from Bangalore.Chandigarh’s Jagmeet Gill, an emerging TSD champion of the country, is also looking at winning the Raid Adventure crown with navigator Chandan Sen. The duo are competing in a Gypsy.In Raid Xtreme (Motorcycles and Quads), the fight is between Bangalore’s CS Santosh and Dakar finisher Helmut Frauwallner, an Austrian.At the World Rally Championship in Abu Dhabi this April, Santosh had sustained third degree burns in a freak accident on track, and undergone two skin grafts. Santosh is now raring to take on the top bikers of the country at the Raid, and defend his Raid title riding a Suzuki 450. Giving him company will be R Nataraj, winner of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare this year.Chandigarh’s Mohit Verma, winner of Xtreme (Motocycles and Quads) at the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm and also The 4th Mughal Rally, is another tough contestant in this category.For all these die-hard rallyists, it is going to be a straight fight over six days through one of the most inhospitable and competitive terrains in the world. The Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya is organized by the leading motorsport club of the country, Himalayan Motorsport. Mr Vijay Parmar, President of Himalayan Motorsport, said that The 15th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya will begin from Shimla and traverse the difficult stretches of Kaza and the Monastery Necklace, Khardung La and Wari La, and the temperamental Nubra Valley. It will draw to a close at Leh.Highest number of competitors ever.
The 15th year of the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya is marked by the highest number of competitors ever. There are five competitive categories at The 15th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya.Raid X-treme (4X4): This is an all-out speed category, with 39 teams from all over the country competing for the top spot. Each team comprises a driver and a navigator.
Raid X-treme (Motorcycles and Quads): This is a high-speed category. 31 bikers from India and abroad are competing in this category.Raid X-treme (Alpine): This is a high-speed category for bikers competing for the first time in the Raid. There are 21 bikers in this category. They will compete for the first three days only.Raid Adventure: This category follows the Time-Speed-Distance format. There are 62 teams in this category. Each team comprises a driver and a navigator.Raid X-treme (Scooters): The 15th Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya 2013 is introducing a new category – Raid X-treme (Scooters). For the first time in the history of competitive motorsport in the Himalayas, scooters will take on the rough mountain terrain. The scooter class is being introduced with six entries. It will run for the first three days only.