Mohali man Amartej Buwal,
driving a Maruti Gypsy, finally won the 16th Maruti Suzuki Raid De
Himalaya. The Raid raced to a finish at Manali on October 10, 2014 after
covering 2,200 kilometers approximately over six days. Reigning rally champion
Suresh Rana crashed out of the rally after a miscalculated turn on Day5.
Bollywood showman Sohail Khan,
who competed in Raid Adventure, said the 16th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya
was one of the best, most beautiful experiences of his life. “The Raid is a
life-changer. You learn at every turn. Mujhe rally ka keeda lag gaya hai (I am
bitten by the rally bug). I
now want to be part of Rally
Xtreme at the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm, and definitely also the Raid next
year,” he said.
In a press release, Manohar
Bhat, Vice-President (Marketing) Maruti Suzuki, said that after heavy snowfall
at Kunzum La suspended Day Four of the rally, there were fears about whether
the Raid would complete its marathon run this year. “Fortunately, we
encountered fine weather at Baralacha La and Nakee La, the formidable mountain
passes, and the 16th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya was able to finish
successfully,” said Bhat.
Buwal topped Raid Xtreme (4X4)
with a time score of 10.35.41 hours. Capt Ajay Vir Singh Gill lost the top
position to Buwal by under two minutes, and ranked second with a time-score of
10.36.51 hours. Karan Jung of Sitarganj in Uttarakhand was third in this
category with a time-score of 10.50.10 hours. Both Capt Gill and Jung were
driving Maruti Gypsy.
Jagmeet Gill of Chandigarh,
with navigator Chandan Sen, scored a hat-trick by standing first-overall in
Raid Adventure, driving a Maruti Gypsy. Jagmeet has won his three Raid
Adventure titles driving the same Gypsy. His total penalty this year was 3.20
hours. Second in Raid Adventure was Subir Roy of Kolkata with navigator Neerav
Mehta, with total penalty of 3.40 hours, also driving a Maruti Gypsy. Third was
Ashish Budhia of Ranchi with navigator Arindam Ghosh, at total penalty of 4.53
In Raid Adventure (cars
category), Rajesh Chalana of Sriganganagar with navigator Yogesh Gupta of
Kolkata was first, driving a Maruti Swift. Chalana was also the defending
champion in this category.
In Raid Xtreme (Motorcycles),
Nataraj R of Bangalore, riding a TVS RTR 450, was first with a time-score of
9.50 hours. Suresh Babu of Delhi, riding a Suzuki RMX 450 Z, was second with a
time-score of 10.29.01 hours. Sourabh Handa of Ludhiana, riding a KTM Duke 390,
was third with a time-score of 10.49.28 hours. Nick Sarao, an NRI from Canada
riding a WR 450, ranked fourth with a time-score of 11.05.09 hours. Sandeep
Matharu of Chandigarh, riding a Bajaj Pulsar 200, ranked fifth with a
time-score of 11.15.30 hours.
Amartej Buwal, a diehard
rallyist who started racing in Raid Xtreme (4X4) in 2009, ranked third overall
the same year. “I always had my gaze fixed on the top prize at the Raid. After
2009, I could not finish the Raid because of engine failure or other technical
faults. In all these years, this is only the second Raid that I have been able
to complete,” he said.
Buwal admitted that with
Suresh Rana and Abhishek Mishra crashing out of the Raid on the fifth day, he
knew his time had come. “From Day One, I was gunning for the top spot, but not
exorbitantly. I am happy that my perseverance paid off,” he said.
Caption: A rallyist racing his
Gypsy on the final day of the 16th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya