Manali man Rana lifts Raid-de-Himalaya trophy yet again
Numero Uno Suresh Rana from Manali with his navigator Ashwin Naik, driving a Grand Vitara, were crowned champions in the X-Treme four-wheeler category of the Raid-de-Himalaya, while Helmut Frauwallner lifted the trophy in the two-wheeler category.india Updated: Oct 12, 2013 22:20 IST
Numero Uno Suresh Rana from Manali with his navigator Ashwin Naik, driving a Grand Vitara, were crowned champions in the X-Treme four-wheeler category of the Raid-de-Himalaya, while Helmut Frauwallner lifted the trophy in the two-wheeler category.
Rana won the coveted trophy for an astonishing ninth time, and his second with Naik as co-driver.
This is his third consecutive victory in this world's toughest motorsport challenge.
The 15th edition of the Raid-de-Himalaya came to an end at Leh on Friday. The prize distribution function was held on Saturday.
Rana described his win as fantastic, but rued the fact that there was less rivalry in this edition of the most exciting motorsport event in India.
"I want more teams to participate so that the competition level goes up. As of now, I am the only one here. Sunny Sidhu is the driver who could have challenged me," said Rana.
Rana had an overall timing of 9:46:23 hrs over six days.
Sanjay Agarwal/Shiv Prakash, driving a Gypsy, finished as first runners-up with cumulative timing of 10:10:35 hrs while Harpreet Bawa/Parminder Thakur were second runners-up having clocked 10:11:23 hrs.
A total of 153 cars and bikes had this time registered for the event, which was the highest number so far.
However, only one-third of the participants were able to complete the toughest cross-country off-road event.
In the sixth and final leg on Friday, Rana and Naik continued to maintain the lead. The duo was driving a Grand Vitara for the second time.
Amanpreet Ahluwalia and his navigator Venu Ramesh, who were leading on Day 1, maintained the second spot over the next four days owing to engine failure.
In X-Treme bikes category, the spots remained unchanged with Austrian Helmut Frauwallner in lead, followed by Stephan Rausch from Germany and R Nataraj.
In the adventure trail, Jagmeet Gill from Chandigarh was the winner.
Meanwhile, out of 75 cars, bikes and scooters that had entered the X-Treme category, only 29 finished the rally, inclusive of all five participants in the newly created scooters category. In the adventure trial category, out of the 62 cars, a remarkable 41 made it through the final leg of the rally.
On the last and final day, the competitors traversed through a loop of 225 km around Leh, the district headquarters of Ladakh.
The vehicles covered Leh-Karu-Sakthi-Wari La-Thangar-Agham-Khalsar-North Pollu-Khardung La-South Pollu and back to Leh.
There were five categories in the 15th edition of Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya. Raid X-Treme (4X4) and Raid X-Treme (motorcycles and quads) were two speed categories. Raid X-Treme (Alpine) was a high-speed category for bikers competing for the first time in the raid. Raid adventure trail followed the time-speed-distance format and for the first time Raid X-Treme (scooters) were introduced to enable scooters to take on the rough mountain terrain.