Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) is set to flag off the 2020 Women’s Rally to the Valley tomorrow from the NCPA in Mumbai. We witnessed the rally up close last year and we will be at the flag-off and at the finish line in Aamby Valley City this year as well. The 2020 edition has some very intriguing entries and we had a chance to meet some of them before the rally kicks off. Meet the drivers that include rally racers, entries from Airforce, Maharashtra Police, a Navy squadron leader, and an 89-year-old grandmother.
Beginning with Mrs Rajkumari Kasliwal. The 78-year-old participant will be accompanied by her granddaughter who will act as the navigator. Kasliwal tells us that her team hasn’t gone for any thematic decorations for their car because they’re only in for the drive. And we adore her for the fact that driving is very important to her. Called ‘Highway Driver’ with love, Kasliwal does long-distance driving every now and then. She says she only has one hesitation for the rally tomorrow, she’s used to doing speeds of over 100 km/h on highways and slowing right down for the TSD-format rally will be a challenge. This made us respect her even more. And the award for the coolest grandmum goes to.
Moving on to Squadron Leader Nishtha Pathak, Lieutenant Karuna Jaiswal, and Jyotsna Bhatia. The soft-spoken women clearly have more important jobs than you and I. But to our benefit, they have a love for driving as well. We just had one question for them, if their kids one day come to them saying they want to become professional racers – what would be their reaction as parents? The three unanimously said they would gladly support it. Now, that is the brilliant change WIAA is helping to bring about.
And now about the two shining beacons that will head the rally. Professional racer and Indigo flight commander Sneha Sharma will be driving the first car of the rally again this year. In our conversation with her, Sharma tells us that she applauds the efforts made by the WIAA to put women behind the wheel and empowering them. Sharma also takes part in road safety campaigns that WIAA conducts every now and then. Sneha Sharma is the fastest female driver on the Formula LGB 4 circuit of the JK Tyre FMSCI National Racing Championship. She flies the Airbus 320 for Indigo and is also an F3 simulator driver.
There will be another Formula race car driver participating in the rally tomorrow – Diana Pundole. She has completed a number of races in the JK Tyre FMSCI National Racing Championship LBG Formula 4W category. Between races, Diana also takes on the role of a driving instructor for Mercedes-Benz India.
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