Sohail Khan, Bollywood
actor and brother of superstar Salman Khan, is among the 236 competitors who
took off from Shimla in the 16th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya, one of the top
ten toughest motorsport events of the world. The rally was flagged off from
Shimla on October 4, 2014. The rallyists will traverse approximately 2,200
kilometers over six days at the Raid.
A total of 41
teams in Raid Xtreme (4X4), 51 teams in Raid Adventure and 49 bikers in Raid
Xtreme (Motorcycles and Quads) are competing in the Raid. The rally was flagged
off by Manohar Bhat, Vice-President (Marketing) of Maruti Suzuki. Bhat said the
open format and multi-terrain route of the Raid, coupled with extreme climate
conditions, makes it one of the most grueling motorsport races worldwide.
champion Suresh Rana, nine-time winner of the coveted title of Raid Xtreme
(4X4) at the Raid, is going to fight for his tenth title this year. In Raid
Adventure, defending champion Jagmeet Gill of Chandigarh has a number of
competitors vying for the top title, including Bollywood showman Sohail Khan.
Both Rana and Gill drive for Team Maruti.
rallyists who are expect to give Rana a fight for the Raid crown are Sandeep
Sharma of Delhi (Team Maruti), Harpreet Bawa of Chandigarh (Team Thunderbolt),
Lt Col Shakti Bajaj of Team Army, Amanpreet Ahluwalia of Delhi (Team
Thunderbolt), Sanjay Agarwal of Bangalore (Team Maruti), Amartej Buwal of Delhi
(Team Thunderbolt) and Raj Singh Rathore of Jaipur, driving a Polaris RZR 800.
a pres release, actor Sohail was given the option of bringing along a luxury
motorvan for stay during the tough Raid route, as is done by celebrities at the
Dakar Rally. “He refused any special luxuries, and said he would stay in the
same accommodation provided to all rallyists at the Raid,” said Vijay Parmar,
president of Himalayan Motorsport, the premier Shimla-based motorsport club
that organises the Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya. Sohail is driving a Gypsy
for Team Maruti at the Raid.
Sohail surprised other competitors when he performed well at Corkscrew, the
prologue for rallyists driving 4X4 SUVs in Raid Adventure. Sohail’s navigator
Rahul Sancheti said that the Bollywood showman was given the choice of opting
out of Corkscrew. The test carries points for their overall tally, and a
competitor who opts out of Corkscrew has to incur a penalty of two minutes.
Sancheti, Sohail said he was not willing to incur even a second’s penalty. “Our
Gypsy got stuck at a couple of places like the other competitors, but he didn’t
give up, and was able to manoeuvre the difficult track within the given time,” he
Yardenay, a 27-year-old Israeli who was at the Israel-Gaza border in July,
pulling out injured and dead soldiers till he lost count, is among the 50
bikers racing their motorcycles at the Raid. And among the oldest Raid
competitors are two 53-year-old Germans who have brought with them a
35-year-old classic car – a self-converted Rally Replica Mercedes SLC 350,
built in 1979.
will drive on the jagged rock-ribbed terrain along Chandra river to some of the
highest human establishments high above Kaza and the fabled vale of Spiti. The
latter half of the Raid will see the rallyists descending from the slippery
Baralacha La, 4,890 meters above sea level and take the road from Darcha to
Shingo La, the legendary pass which guards the entry to the daunting Zanskar
region near Kargil. The Raid will end at Manali.
Suzuki Raid De Himalaya is one of the two Indian motorsport events listed on
the off-road rallies calendar of FIA (Federation Internationale Automobile and
FIM (Federation Internationale Motorcyclisme) Geneva, Switzerland. Only 12
international motoring events world-wide are listed in this calendar.
Picture Caption: Sohail Khan in action at the 16th
Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya
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