The 16th edition of Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalayas, a motorsport rally, was flagged off from here on Saturday.
The 6-day-long motor sport event is set to cover a total distance of 2,200 km cutting through through some of the most scenic locations in the state.
Maruti Suzuki India Marketing vice-president Manohar Bhat flagged off the rally from Peterhoff. The rallyists will traverse through 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.
Around 150 teams are participating in the event which will travel on the rugged and uncertain roads of the Himalayas under extreme weather conditions, crossing 11 passes.
This year's event is also marked with participation from several women teams, both in the Extreme and Adventure categories.
Interacting with the mediapersons Manohar Bhat said, "We are overwhelmed to see the response received by our flagship motorsport event. Out of the several rally formats we have introduced over the years, Raid has always been the most demanding. The open format and multi-terrain routes with extreme climate conditions challenge the participants to bring out their best."
Himalayan Motorsport Association vice-president Manjeev Bhalla said that this time the track had to be re-routed to contain the route to Himachal mostly owing to floods in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said, "The extreme category has 41 four-wheelers participating whereas in adventure category there are 55. Besides, 49 bikers are also participating in the rally. There are three all-women teams and 6 teams from the army to put up a tough fight."
This year the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya is marked by the highest number of entries ever, a number of firsts to its credit which also includes the presence of Bollywood star Sohail Khan, he added.
Nine-time winner Suresh Rana from Manali who is a legend in Indian rallying is also participating.