Suresh Rana, the nine-time
champion of the Raid Xtreme (4X4) category, crashed out of the 16th Maruti Suzuki
Raid De Himalaya on the fifth day of the rally on October 9, 2014. Celebrity
Sohail Khan, meanwhile took a
wrong turn on the competitive stage towards Baralacha La, the mountain pass
that connects Lahaul and Ladakh. Sohail went off-track, missed one check-point
and lost valuable time. This
will severely impact his overall score in Raid Adventure.
For Rana, it was the rogue
turn on the way to Nakee La, a mountain pass at the height of 4,750 meters that
got him into big trouble. The turn was so sharp that two top rallyists of the country
– Rana and Abhishek Mishra, could not negotiate it at high speed. Both vehicles
went off the road and landed at a lower patch. Rana was driving for Team
Maruti, and Mishra for Team Thunderbolt.
Natraj R of Bangalore, first
in Raid Xtreme (Motorcycles), narrowly escaped sliding down the same turn, and
maneuvered it with difficulty. Fortunately, no rallyist was injured in the
mishap. After the misjudgment by the two top rallyists, a Raid Marshal was
stationed at the turn, and the Xtreme
competitors coming from behind
were told to take the turn safely.
Manohar Bhat, Vice President
(Marketing), Maruti Suzuki, said that at the end of the third day, Rana was
seven minutes ahead of Mishra, and 20 minutes ahead of Capt AVS Gill of Team
Army. “With Rana’s exit, winning Raid Xtreme (4X4) is now anybody’s game. There
are seven competitors within a nine-minute gap, all running close to each
other. It will be interesting to see who is best among equals,” said Bhat.
The rallyists engaged in a
close contest in Raid Xtreme (4X4) are Capt AVS Gill, Harpreet Singh Bawa,
Amartej Buwal, Lt Col Shakti Bajaj, Gaurav Angra, Raj Singh Rathore and Karan
Raid Xtreme, which had been suspended
on Day Four due to heavy snow at Kunzum La, took off from Sarchu on October 9
for Nakee La. The three competitive stages from Sarchu to Nakee La, Debring to
Daat and back from Daat to Debring were held as per schedule.
Raid Adventure too had a normal
run from Keylong to Baralacha La, forward to Nakee La, and back to Keylong
after taking a U-turn at Sarchu. The stages were long, and the results had not
been compiled till the time of going to press.
The 16th Maruti Suzuki Raid De
Himalaya, which had started from Shimla on October 5, will finish at Manali on
October 10 after a marathon six-day run over 2,200 kilometers approximately.
Picture of Suresh Rana who crashed out and Sohail Khan who is not among
the top contenders