Srinagar. Top rallyists from Kolkatta, Amittrajit Ghosh in the four wheel Xtreme category and Mohit Verma, a motorcycle rallyist from Bangalore came out winners in the 4th Mughal Rally, which concluded yesterday.
In all there were 120 rallyists from all over the country who participants in the two day event.
In Rally Xtreme, Amittrajit Ghosh of Kolkata took the top honours with navigator Ashwin Naik. Ghosh was driving a Mitsubishi Cedia. He had a lead of two minutes over Amanpreet Ahluwalia of Team Terrain Tigers, Delhi, with navigator Sandeep Mansukhani. Ahluwalia drove a Maruti Zen for the event. Third in this category was Abhishek Mishra of Jaipur, with navigator Sudeep Haldar.
Amartej Buwal of Team Terrain Tigers, Delhi, ranked fourth in Rally Xtreme with navigator Nakul Mehndiratta. National cross-country marathon motorsport champion Suresh Rana dropped to the fifth position in Rally Xtreme due to mechanical problems in his vehicle.
In the Rally Xtreme (Motorcycles category), Mughal Rally 2012 winner Mohit Verma of Chandigarh retained his numero uno position with a lead of three minutes over Gurpinder Singh Sarao of Sangrur. Rajan Singh of Ludhiana stood third in this category, and Puran Singh Bisht of Chandigarh ranked fourth.
In the Rally Enduro car category, SK Ajgar Ali of Kolkata with navigator Mustafa driving a Mitsubishi Cedia took the winner’s crown in Rally Enduro (Car category). The duo tipped Subir Roy, also of Kolkata, with navigator Nirav Mehta, who were initially leading this category. Roy was also driving a Mitsubishi Cedia. Third in this category was Pawan Choudhry with navigator T. Nagarajan.
There was an upset in Rally Enduro (SUV category) too. National TSD champion Satish Gopalkrishnan of Bangalore was leading this category with navigator Savera D’Souza, driving a Grand Vitara. On Day Two, champion TSD rallyists Vishnu Singh and navigator Adithya Anthony of Bangalore wrested the winner’s crown from Gopalkrishnan with a lead of 30 seconds. Vishnu Singh was driving a Maruti Gypsy. Third in this category was Jagmeet Gill of Chandigarh with navigator Chandra Sekhar. Gill was also driving a Maruti Gypsy.
Rally Xtreme is an outright speed rush, while Rally Enduro follows the Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) format.
A total of 24 teams took the start in Rally Xtreme (4X4), and 30 teams took the start in Rally Enduro. In the Rally Xtreme (Motorcycles) category, nine bikers took the start. The prize money for each category was Rs 2 lakh for the winner, Rs 1.25 lakh for the first runner-up and Rs 1 lakh for the second runner-up.
The 4th Mughal Rally traversed the difficult, less-travelled stretches of Jammu and Kashmir including the Gool Gulabgarh-Reasi-Ramban stretch and the difficult hill climb from Daksum to Sinthan Pass. India’s first competitive hill climb event was made even more challenging by adverse weather conditions both days. Day One was marked by landslide and rockfall on the competitive stretch near Pir Ki Gali, the highest point on The Mughal Road. On Day Two, rallyists had to put up with terrible rain and storm for almost four hours in the competitive stretches.
The two hill climbs in The Mughal Rally this year were the competitive stretches up to Pir Ki Gali and Sinthan Pass. Pir Ki Gali is the highest point on The Mughal Road, at an altitude of 11,500 feet (4,100 meters) approximately. Sinthan Pass, at an altitude of 12,450 feet (3,748 meters) approximately, is on national highway 1B, connecting Kishtwar and Anantnag. Even during the height of summer, the hill climb to Sinthan Pass is lined with walls of snow. The pass only opens for traffic from April to September.