Drivers set of on India’s toughest mountain rally
SHIMLA: Dozens of cars and motorcycles set off Thursday from the Indian Himalayan foothills on a motorsport rally that organisers billed as the nation’s “longest, highest and toughest.”
Some 71 cars and motorbikes were flagged off from the resort town of Shimla and were due to finish in the hill station of Manali on Monday after travelling 1,700 kilometers (1,054) through some of India’s most arduous terrain. The annual Raid-De-Himalaya rally which started in 1999 takes participants along narrow mountain dirt tracks and through treacherous Himalayan passes where temperatures are below freezing.
The rally will be “tougher this time as the distance is 350 kilometers (220 miles) longer which will take a fifth day,” said Manjeev Bhalla, an official of the Himalayan Motorsport Association, organisers of the tournament whose sponsors include Indian automaking giant Maruti, its Japanese parent Suzuki and Indian Oil Corp. afp