India’s leading car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki, ceremonially flagged of its most iconic and challenging motorsport rally, Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, 2014, from here today. Returning in its 16th edition, the 6 day motor sport event is set to cover a total distance of 2200 kms travelling through some of the most scenic and peaceful locations in the Spiti valley and Himachal Pradesh. The rallyists will cross places like Shimla, Manali, Kaza, Chandra Basin, Gramphoo, Patseo, Sarchu, Baralacha La, Nakee La and Darcha, in the wake of beautiful monasteries of Komik, Dhankar, Ki and Tabo.
This year the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya is marked by the highest number of entries ever, and a number of firsts to its credit. Around 150 teams will be gutting it out on the flaky, rough and uncertain roads of the Himalayas under extreme weather conditions, each hoping to grab the pole position. This year’s event is also marked with participation from several women teams, both in the Extreme and Adventure category. A number of foreign nationals will also be seen rushing through the tracks on bikes as well as cars.
Adding to the excitement around the Raid is the first time link up between Bollywood and Motorsports. Actor, producer, director Sohail Khan, brother of megastar Salman Khan will be seen driving a Maruti Gypsy in the Adventure category as a member of Team Maruti along with former Raid De Himalaya winner Rahul Sancheti, as his navigator.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Manohar Bhat, Vice President, Marketing, Maruti Suzuki India said, “We are overwhelmed to see the response received by our flagship motorsport event Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya. Out of the several rally formats that we have introduced over the years Raid has always been the most demanding. The open format and multi terrain routes with extreme climate conditions challenges the participants to bring out the best.”
Known as one of the top ten toughest motorsport rallies of the world, the 16th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya will be run in compliance with the International Sporting Code of the FIA, National Competition Rules (NCR) & General Prescriptions of the FMSCI.
Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya is organised in association with country’s leading motorsport organizer, Himalayan Motorsport. According to Mr. Vijay Parmar, President of Himalayan Motorsport, “Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya 2014 promises to be both hugely difficult and dogged by uncertain whether. As early onset of winters is predicted in the western Himalayan region, participants may actually face snow and icy winds, mercury falling to 15 degree Celsius below zero at places.”