2017 edition of Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya rally concluded yesterday. Suresh Rana won the x-treme cars categories race. It was the 11th title for him in the rally. 42 years old Suresh Rana is a resident of Manali, Himachal Pradesh. Rana, driving Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara with his co-driver PVS Murthy completed the race with 51 minutes lead over the runner up Sanjay Razdan.
The 19th edition of rally was flagged off on 7th october at Manali. This year the rally covered a distance of about 2000 kms passing through Gramphoo, Losar Kaza, Keylong, Sarchu, Pang, Daat, Leh, Kargil, Pensi La and Back to Leh. Prize distribution is held in Leh.
Passing through tough terrain and high passes Raid de Himalaya is considered one of the toughest race in the world. The maximum height achieved during the race this year was 17,500 feet.
Leg 1 on first day took competitors around 200km to Kaza in Spiti Valley via Gramphoo and Losar. The extremely rough 76km competitive section was very tricky and took a toll on both the competitors and their vehicles. After Day 2, which took competitors back the same way towards Pang, a number of the competitors dropped out due to vehicle damage. Suresh Rana and PVS Murthy, managed to build up a 20-minute lead ahead of Sanjay Razdan and Karan Aukta. In the Moto class, TVS Racing’s R Nataraj was 1min 31sec ahead of Tanveer.
Leg 3 began from Pang towards Leh. The 53km stage which went up to Daat was quite fast with comparatively smoother terrain. However, navigation played a huge role as there were trails going in different directions. To make things worse, the temperature in the morning was constantly below freezing. Rana’s lead was only increasing as it went up to around 33 min. Tanveer meanwhile managed to make good time on these stages, taking a four minute lead ahead of Nataraj.
For the next leg competitors made their way to Kargil for two competitive stages from Sankoo to Drass and back. The stages had narrow roads going up steep mountains, leaving no room for error. Suresh Rana continued to extend his lead over Razdan, as did Tanveer over Nataraj.
By the fifth leg, only 28 of the 69 competitors that were flagged off, remained in the competition. Leg 5 was one of the toughest stages in the rally, taking participants around 300km towards Pensi-La and back via Rangdum. But Rana was still going strong. The final leg hosted one competitive stage from Drass to Sankoo, before bringing everyone back to Leh. Rana finished first with a 51min lead ahead of Razdan, while Sanjay Agarwal finished third. In the Moto-class, Tanveer finished with a 3min lead ahead of Nataraj. TVS Racing’s Rajendra RE finished third.