You can take the girl out of the mountains, but you can't take the mountains out of her goes the saying for Suchi Thakur - a passionate rallyist from Shamnagar in Dharamsala. It was her love for mountains and passion for speed that made her take the challenge of driving rugged terrains and inhospitable roads of the hills.
Working as an independent advertising consultant in Mumbai - this young gritty woman in her early 30s has been racing her Gypsy at top speeds on the high altitude of the Himalayas for close to a decade now.
The year - 2012 - will be her eighth continuous appearance in the Raid De Himalaya - the event that is rated among the top 10 rallies in the world. The rally will kick off on October 7.
"Rallying is thrill that keeps calling me while mountains have always remained in my heart," said Thakur while talking to the Hindustan Times
A hardcore Xtreme rallyist, where the winning factor is how fast you can zoom on the impossible terrain, Thakur was the first woman driver to participate in the event and later she became the first woman to join in Xtreme category of the event.
Xtreme category is the toughest, most challenging part of racing and the ultimate test of speed and skill.
Finishing the Raid is considered to be an achievement in itself. Thakur, with an indomitable spirit, has consistently finished the rally when many men failed to meet the tough standards set by the Raid.
For an onlooker, the sight of a girl driving at an unbelievable speed on rough and inhospitable roads may be an unusual sight, but Thakur finds nothing extraordinary about it.
"I am a sporty person and due to my passion for speed I always wanted to be in rallying," said Thakur.
In her first year at the Raid in 2005, Thakur like all first-timers was allowed only to participate only in the adventure category - relatively a low-risk category that follows the time-speed-distance (TSD) format. Next year, she was included in the league of drivers who participate in the Xtreme category.
Thakur has participated in the Maruti Suzuki desert storm three times and four times in the SJOBA Sub-Himalayan Rally. "The whole thrill and adrenaline associated with driving competitively as opposed to driving for leisure takes the rallying experience to a whole new level. People may call it high risk, but at the end of the day, it's a choice that you make," said Thakur, adding that the whole high shouldn't get you down and whatever comes, you know you will deal with it, and you will do whatever it takes to be at the rally.