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October 7, 2012

Raid-de-Himalaya car rally kickstarts in Shimla

     Shimla: The 14th edition of the Raid-de-Himalaya, one of the world's toughest off-road motor rallies, was flagged off here yesterday. The rally is witnessing the participation of around 260 drivers in the four and two wheeler categories, who would be braving the inhospitable terrains and hostile weather conditions of the Himalayas.

Vice-President of the Himalayan Motorsport Association, Manjeev Bhalla, said participants will cover a distance of 1,800 kilometers in six days before reaching Leh, the terminating point. "This year our event is running over six-days, we start off in Shimla today and finish in Leh on the 12th. The prize distribution is on the 12th evening at Leh itself. The total distance the rally will cover will be about 1,800 kilometres, of which 600 kilometres are competitive mileage and then we have three and a half days in Himachal. We go from here to Manali, from Manali we head for Kaza, we spend one-day in Kaza itself and then make our way to Pang in Ladakh and from Pang we go to Leh," said Bhalla.

The rally is to test the participant's ability in handling rough roads, uncertain and extreme weather conditions and the strength of his vehicle. The participants would be crossing all the major passes, including are Jalori pass, Rohtang, Kunzum La, Nakila, Baralacha, Lachlangla, Kangla Jal, Tanglang La, Wari La and Khardung La and so every high pass in north India they would be rallying over. Bhalla said the motorists would compete across three categories - X-treme for four-wheelers, X-treme for two-wheelers and the Adventure Trial category for amateurs.

"As in the past, we have two separate categories, the adventure trial and the extreme. In the adventure trail we have go maximum of 60 entries, as we wanted to accept only 60 entries because of accommodation issues at Pang, so we had to take this decision. In the extreme four-wheelers, there were 50 entries and in the extreme two-wheelers there were 34 entries," said Bhalla. The rally would conclude in Leh on October 12.

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