Shimla: Wining the Raid de Himalaya has become a habit for Suresh Rana, who was declared winner on the fifth day of the cross country marathon rally that finished at Leh today. It was Rana’s eight win in 14 years of the Raid’s history.
Driving a Grand Vitara for Team Maruti, Rana from Kullu, got the better of Amanpreet Ahluwalia of Delhi who was driving a Maruti Gypsy and was declared second in the X-treme category.
In third position was Lt Col Shakti Bajaj of Team Army – also driving a Maruti Gypsy.
The Raid had to be curtailed to five days as snow blizzards at Wari La, one of the highest mountain passes in the world halted the Raid in its wheels.
The last competitive leg of the Raid scheduled for October 12 was cancelled and results were calculated based on the performance of the teams over the last five days.
CS Santosh of Bangalore, driving a Honda CRF, ranked first in the Xtreme (Motorcycles and Quads) category. Austrian Helmut Frauwallner was second in this category.
In Raid Adventure, a category which follows the Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) format, the top position was bagged by K Prasad, driving a Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara. Prasad, who has won the title for the fourth time.
The second prize was won by Satish Gopalkrishnan of Bangalore, and the third prize went to Jagmeet Gill of Chandigarh, driving a Maruti Gypsy for Team Maruti.
In the Raid Adventure (Cars – Class I) category, the first prize was bagged by Mahesh Kumar and JP Yadav of Gurgaon, driving a Maruti SX 4.
The second prize in the same category went to Siddhartha Singh and Gaurav Aggarwal of Delhi, again driving an SX 4. The third prize in this category was bagged by Chetan Joshi of Ahmedabad, driving a Maruti Suzuki Dzire.
Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya is one of the top ten toughest rallies of the world. The event is organized by Maruti Suzuki in collaboration with Himalayan Motorsport Association (HMA), the premier Shimla-based motorsport club.
Raid 2012 took off from Shimla on October 7. After going through the high mountain passes of Baralacha La, Jalori Jot, Rohtang La, Kunzum La and Yar La, the marathon motorsport event concluded at Leh.
Vijay Parmar, President HMA, said Raid 2012 turned out to be one of the toughest Raids ever, with rallyists taking on snowfall and ice-crusted roads for three days.
Of the total 50 entries in Raid Xtreme, only 16 teams managed to mark the finish line at Leh.