Women are meant to bring
glamour to our dull and drab world. But then they are part of a tough rally,
they not only bring glamour but also demonstrate their grit and determination,
besides their prowess in driving techniques during such a tough rally. Woman
power is on a new high at the highest
motorsport rally of the world – the 16th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya 2014.
In the high-risk, high-speed
Xtreme category of the Raid, which takes off on October 5, 2014 women rallyists
are driving four out of the total 41 vehicles which will race this year. This
is their highest number in Xtreme category ever at the Raid, which ranks among
the ten toughest motorsport rallies of the world.
The six-day gruelling event
will take off from Shimla and end at Manali on October 10 after crossing some
of the most remote mountain passes in Ladakh and the Zanskar range of Jammu and
About 240 top rallyists of the
country will compete at the Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya. The Raid will have
50 competitors in Rally Moto (Motorcycles and Quads), 41 teams in Rally Xtreme,
and 51 teams in Rally Adventure, according to a press release.
Till recently women competitors
have contended themselves with Raid Adventure, the relatively safer format of
rallying which follows the Time-Speed-Distance formula. A new generation of
women rallyists is turning this old pattern on its head by storming into Rally
Xtreme, the release added. These gritty women participants include Anu Rana of
Delhi with navigator Khyati Modi of Mumbai, Vaneeta Kang and navigator
Gagandeep Kaur, both of Chandigarh, Shuchi Thakur of Mumbai with navigator
Zuzer Rangwala and Capt Madhvi Singh of Team Army with navigator Lt Col HS
Katoch. All these competitors are driving Maruti Gypsy at the rally.
Dharamshala-girl Shuchi is the
only long-time competitor in Rally Xtreme. The rest all are first-time entrants
in the category that involves racing at the highest motorable roads in the
world at very high speeds. Bani Yadav, a woman rallyist competing in Raid
Adventure, says she wanted to race in Raid Xtreme, but the rules forbade her.
“The Raid does not allow a first-time competitor to compete in the Xtreme
category. Next year, it is definitely all-out racing for me,” said Bani, who
has won top positions at sprint rallies in
Chandigarh and Jaipur. Her navigator is Pratibha Anand of Bangalore.
“I am so bitten by the rally
bug that the I take off for racing events in Rajasthan on Friday evening
straight from work, and get back straight from there on Monday morning for
work,” said Delhi’s Anu Rana, who has also competed in the Jaipur round of
Indian National Rally Championship (INRC).
Bangalore’s Pratibha Anand is
an expert in high performance motor equipment. She and her team prepare
vehicles for both extreme and TSD rallying in south India. Bani Yadav recorded
top positions among all competitors in various categories at the Solo National
Challenge in Chandigarh and Rally Cross in Jaipur this year.
Capt Madhvi Singh’s
persistence is the talk of rally circles. Capt Madhvi was competing in the
Adventure category at the Desert Storm in February this year when her car
toppled, leaving her with minor injuries.
Manohar Bhat, Vice President
(Marketing) of Maruti Suzuki, said that this year, the corporate major started
the Women’s Car Rally in the TSD format. The Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya is
organised by Himalayan Motorsport, the premier Shimla-based motorsport club.
President of Himalayan Motorsport Vijay Parmar said the Raid is not just about
speed or time control. “It is a 2,000 kilometre endurance event in the harshest
of terrains. Till Day 4, the vehicles will be tested to the limit. After that,
the competitors, who will have to spend two nights in sub-zero temperatures at
the camp site in Sarchu,” said Parmar.
Picture of Bani Yadav of Gurgaon with her Maruti Gypsy
which she will drive at the 16th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya
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