A few days ago this month (11th October), one of the most challenging car rallies on earth was flagged off from beautiful landscapes of Simla. The 2011 edition of the challenging and renowned Raid De Himalaya will see numerous teams consisting of experienced as well as new participants battling it out with each other. The event will see almost the entire line up of Maruti Suzuki cars and then a few from the past as well. Read: The Baleno and Esteem. However, the Gypsy being a moutain goat remains to be as popular as ever and seems to be the preferred choice of many teams. Also, we see quite a few Mahindra SUVs and pick ups from TATA as well. Also, it will be interesting to see what kind of advantages Mitsubishis hold over other cars with its tried and tested Pajero. A very new entrant is a team of two brave and experienced men and technicians riding ‘high’ on Himalayas-Mr.Pavan Choudhary (Driver) and Captain Nitin Anand (Navigator). The duo is participating in the adventure category which was kick started and form the Fiat India Team.
Commenting on this challenging and adrenaline filled expedition, Mr. Enrico Atanasio, Head- Commercial, Fiat India Automobiles Ltd. said, “Fiat’s Punto 90 HP MULTIJET is known for its power, drive and fuel efficiency. Our cars have a strong build and all the essential features to enable a smooth drive across most terrains. It would truly be a proud moment to see the Fiat brand standing tall on one of the highest altitudes of the country. We wish the team a great and memorable journey with Fiat’s Punto 90 HP MULTIJET.”
As mentioned, the rally will see participants having to deal with terrains of varying difficulty and they need to be as focused as they can to tackle all the odds and then probably some more. The tough challenge is known to take a toll on both the team as well as the vehicles and the event will be a good opportunity for manufacturers to gauge the reliability of their vehicles.
The tough course commenced from Shimla and will reach Srinagar, covering a distance of close to 2000 Kms on tough terrain and seeing 6 legs of the course over a span of 10 days. The 13th edition of this popular rally will see 291 contestants experiencing a difficult battle and a rare adrenaline rush that constantly being on edge offers.
Himalayan Motorsport Association is the organiser of the event and the one of the toughest rallies has been approved by National Sports Federation which in turn is recognized by the Government of India. The ADEVENTURE TRIAL category of RAID DE HIMALAYA, 2011 is being held in compliance with International Sporting Code of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) ,National Competition Rules (NCR) & General Prescriptions of the FMSCI, these Supplementary Regulations and bulletins issued by FMSCI.
Boasting of a new and unique format this time, the commencement of X-treme and Adventure category was held on their own tricky and treasonable paths but their paths will merge at Rangdum (Rangdum, situated 3,657metres, 11,998 ft above sea level), in an isolated region of the Suru valley. At the beautiful yet very demanding region of Ladakh, the two categories will run in sync with each other via Penzi-La till the end of concluding leg to be terminated at Srinagar.
If you think anyone with an experienced team, a powerful car with good dynamics and adequate technical support can easily come out with flying colors in this rally then you need to think again. Harsh climate, long duration of stages and other factors based on technicalities and a few on luck too should not be underestimated.
What interests me the most is the fact that this time around, even more manufacturers are participating in the event and it will be interesting to see if some other manufacturer can de-throne Maruti Suzuki by bettering it in its own game. Stay tuned folks!!