As beautiful and calm the beautiful mountain range of Himalayas look are they really that calm? Ask the participants of the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya rally how furious can they get. After being flagged off from Manali, the 19th edition of Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya concluded on Saturday after going through the extreme temperatures, altitude and rugged terrains. The 2017 edition of Raid saw Over 170 motorsport enthusiasts in 110 teams are participating in this rally. Participants witnessed extremely high altitude of 17,500 feet with temperatures as low as -15°C going through the terrains of Kaza, Sarchu, Pang, Leh, Kargil and Pensi La. Overall the rally covered a distance 1850 kilometers over a span of seven days and was divided into three categories X-treme Cars, X-treme Bikes and Adventure.
The challenging conditions saw only 50% of the total competitors making it to the finish like with Suresh Rana and PVS Murthy from Team Maruti Suzuki Motorsport drove home the coveted title in their Grand Vitara with a lead of over 09:22:17 hrs in the Xtreme cars category. This is also the 11th Raid De Himalaya win for Suresh Rana. Coming a close second were Sanjay Razdan and Karan Aukta in their Maruti Gypsy covering the distance in 10:13:14 hrs; followed by Sanjay Agarwal and Smitha N in their Grand Vitara covering the distance in 10:35:33 hrs; and Dharam Pal Jangra and Abhishek Sultan in their Vitara Brezza covering the distance in 10:45:41 hrs.
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 and feel privileged to have access to all this as a part of Team Maruti Suzuki Motorsport.”
TVS Racing had a good Raid De Himalaya with Abdul Wahid in his TVS RTR 450 FX won the Xtreme Bikes category covering the distance in 07:44:03 ; followed by R. Natraj in TVS RTR 450 covering the distance in 07:47:03 and R E Rajendra in TVS RTR 200FX covering the distance in 08:57:29. Riding in factory supported TVS Apache RTR 200, Aishwaya Pissay finished at a credible fourth place in Raid De Himalaya becoming the only female rider to complete course in the Xtreme category.
In the Adventure Car category, Rajesh Chalana and Satish Gopalkrishnan took the lead driving Maruti Swift. Rakesh Choudhary & Raja Hisham in Maruti SX4 and Shubham Middha and Anshul Asati in Maruti SX4 stood at second and third position respectively. Whereas, in the Adventure SUV category, Subir Roy and Nirav Mehta stood first driving Maruti Gypsy. Shashwat Gupta & Chirag Thakur in Isuzu V Cross and Shailendra Singh and Dinky Varghese in Skoda Yeti stood at second and third position respectively.
Tarun Garg, Executive Vice President - Marketing, Maruti Suzuki India commented, “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. I congratulate the winners and each one of the finalists who made it through braving the challenges. We, at Maruti Suzuki will continue to promote the passion of driving and racing in a technically competent and safe manner conforming to the highest international standards.”
We also had a chance to interact with the winners and other participants of this extreme rally and will have another report on this shortly.