The competitive leg of the 15th edition of Maruti Suzuki Raid-De-Himalaya comprising three super stages, began from Shimla today morning. 153 cars and bikes commenced their tryst with the mighty Himalayas for the most coveted motorsports trophy.
Challenging the eight time winner, Manali’s Suresh Rana/Ashwin Naik, is Delhi’s Amanpreet Ahluwalia/Venu Ramesh who won the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare in August this year. Amanpreet/Venu Ramesh clocked 1.45.36 Hrs in the three super stages today. Suresh Rana/Ashwin Naik are a minute and 24 second behind at the second spot with a timing of 1.47.00 Hrs. Harpreet Bawa/Virendra Kashyap clocked 1.47.46 Hrs for third position making the challenge tough for others.
In the Raid X-Treme Bikes and Moto Quad category, CS Santosh, earned heavy penalty in the transport stages due to mechanical problem with his bike. Austrian Helmut Frauwallner is at the top currently total timing of 1.46.52 Hrs. Raakesh Blokhara is a surprise entry at the second spot having clocked 1.46.56 Hrs and just four seconds behind Helmut. German biker Stephan Rausch is at the third spot with 1.49.55 Hrs, a good three minute apart. Meanwhile, Raj Singh Rathore of Japiur driving the only moto quad crashed out during the first leg itself after fuel problems with his vehicle.
In the adventure trial segment, the field is very tight at the end of day 1. The favourites, Bangalore couple Satish Gopalkrishnan/Savera D’Souza are nowhere in top three. The leader board is led by Jagmeet Gill/Chanden Sen who have earned penalty of 0.00.21 Hrs. Vishnu Singh/Aditya Anthony follow them 12 seconds behind with a penalty of 0.00.33 Hrs while Ashish Budhia/Arindam Ghosh are just three seconds behind the second leader at O.00.36 Hrs.
Earlier in the wee hours of morning, the X-treme cars and bikes started off from Shimla to head towards Manali, Luhri, Behna, Chimni, Khanag. Three competitive super stages were planned between Dalog and Chamola (33.41 kms), Luhri and Behna (21.32 kms) Chimni and Khanag (19.57 kms) totaling an overall 312 kms including transport stages.
The motorsport enthusiasts traversed the most beautiful and varying countryside, complete with Chir and Deonar trees sliced by streams and rivulets flowing through the rally tracks to join Sutlej and Beas rivers. The terrain was largely dirt with some parts suddenly turning rocky while the rally went through drops and rises from lowland scrub to alpine meadows. While it was very foggy in the morning and at times low lying rainfed clouds kissed the tracks, the drivers were lucky that rains did not mar the day.
Tomorrow, the second leg will start from Manali and head towards Kaza via Gramphoo and Losar. It will cross over Rohtang Pass in an iconic Himalayan adventure.
There are five competitive categories in the 15th edition of Maruti Suzuki Raid-De-Himalaya. Raid X-Treme (4X4) and Raid X-Treme (Motorcycles and Quads) are two all-out speed categories, Raid X-Treme (Alpine): This is a high-speed category for bikers competing for the first time in the Raid, Raid Adventure Trial follows the Time-Speed-Distance format and for the first time, Raid X-Treme (Scooters) has been introduced to enable scooters to take on the rough mountain terrain.
Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya is one of the two Indian motorsport events listed amongst the 12 off-road rallies calendar of FIA (Federation Internationale Automobile and FIM (Federation Internationale Motorcyclisme) Geneva, Switzerland. The six day mountain adventure began from Shimla and will traverse the difficult stretches of Kaza and the Monastery Necklace, Khardung La and Wari La, and the temperamental Nubra Valley. Enroute, the Raid will go through some of the highest motorable passes and human settlements in the world. These include Darcha (3360 m), Keylong (3440 m), Leh (3524 m), Kaza (3650 m), Dhankar (3894 m), Losar (4079 m), Rumtse (4300 m), Kunzum La (4551 m), Komik (4587 m) and Pang (4600 m). It will draw to a close at Leh on Oct 12.
Results of Day 1:
X-Treme (4X4) – Amanpreet Ahluwalia/Venu Ramesh: 1.45.36 Hrs, Suresh Rana/Ashwin Naik: 1.47.00 Hrs, Harpreet Bawa/Virendra Kashyap: 1.47.46 Hrs
X-Treme (Moto and Quads) – Helmut Frauwallner: 1.46.52 Hrs, Raakesh Blokhara: 1.46.56 Hrs, Stephan Rausch: 1.49.55 Hrs.
Adventure Trial (Auto) – Jagmeet Gill/Chanden Sen: 0.00.21 Hrs, Vishnu Singh/Aditya Anthony: 0.00.33 Hrs, Ashish Budhia/Arindam Ghosh: O.00.36 Hrs.