The 19th edition of the Raid De Himalaya - India's most intense and challenging motorsport rally, concluded in Leh. The 2017 Raid De Himalaya in association with Mobil1 was probably the toughest one, as less than 50 percent of the participants managed to finish the rally.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Tarun Garg, Executive Vice President - Marketing, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. said, "Raid De Himalaya has always been synonymous with adventure, uncertainty and extreme conditions. But this year it stepped one notch higher with the new gruelling route which challenged abilities of even the most established rallyists."
However, the toughest of the tough finished the rally in style. Suresh Rana and PVS Murthy from Team Maruti Suzuki Motorsport took the first place in the X-treme cars category driving their Grand Vitara.
Second place was taken by Sanjay Razdan and Karan Aukta driving their Gypsy and third place was taken by Sanjay Agarwal and Smitha N in their Grand Vitara.
Commenting on the win, Rana said, "Winning Raid De Himalaya is always rewarding and boosts my morale every year. This is my 11th win and yet the thrill and joy is just like my 1st. To breakthrough in these extreme weather conditions, along with driver skills one also needs a tough vehicle supported by a reliable service crew."
First place in the X-treme Bikes category was taken by Abdul Wahid Tanveer from TVS racing, astride his TVS RTR 450 FX. His team-mate Natraj R, also astride a TVS RTR 450 FX came a close second, just three minutes after his AW Tanveer. Third place was taken by Rajendra R E, riding his TVS RTR 200 FX.
Rajesh Chalana and Satish Gopalkrishnan took the lead in the Adventure cars category driving a Maruti Suzuki Swift. Rakesh Choudhary & Raja Hisham in a Maruti Suzuki SX4 and Shubham Middha and Anshul Asati also driving a Maruti Suzuki SX4 took the second and third positions respectively.
The Adventure SUV category was dominated by Subir Roy and Nirav Mehta driving a Maruti Gypsy. Shashwat Gupta & Chirag Thakur driving an Isuzu D-Max V Cross took second place and Shailendra Singh, co-driven by Dinky Varghese in a Skoda Yeti stood at the third position.
The 2017 Raid De Himalaya saw 106 rallyists participating across Xtreme Cars, Xtreme Bikes and Adventure categories, braving the inhospitable temperatures and terrains, covering a distance of nearly 1,850 kilometres.
The rally started from Manali on October 6 and went through Kaza, Pang, Kargil and Leh, over treacherous terrain. Rider riders and drivers compete at altitudes of upto 17,500 feet with temperatures going as low as -15 degrees celsius.
This year, The Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya in association with Mobil1 had over 100 teams and nearly 170 participants competing, of which there were six women-only teams and 8 Indian Army teams.
The Raid De Himalaya has been one of the most extreme rally events in India for two decades now. The very fact that less than 50 percent of the participants completed the rally is testimony to the fact that it is one of the most extreme rallies this part of the world.
The countdown to the Raid De Himalaya is closely watch by motorsport enthusiasts. With the conclusion of the 2017 Raid, the countdown to the 2018 Raid has begun, and DriveSpark cannot wait to be up in the mountains again.