Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, flagged off the 13th Raid de Himalayan Motorsport Rally, the most adventurous and longest in the world, from historic Peterhoff, here today.
Addressing the flagging off ceremony, Chief Minister, congratulated the Himalayan Motor Sport Association for maintaining the tradition of organizing the Raid de Himalayan Motorsport Rally every year which had started in year 1999 from Shimla itself. He said that from 19 participants in year 1999 the strength had risen to 162 teams in year 2011 consisting of 240 participants. He said that the Rally had been instrumental in earning name and fame for Himachal Pradesh as well since it originated from here in year 1999. He said that the Rally had drawn participants from all over the world who had been exploring the inner and virgin destinations in the State from tourism point of view.
The high point of Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya 2011 is customization of rally route in line with experience and expectations of the motorsports enthusiasts. For the first time, two separate routes have been worked out by the organisers to engage with two different types of motorsports enthusiasts.
Explaining the double route format and encouraging the participants, Shashank Srivastava, Chief General Manager, Marketing, Maruti Suzuki, said, “The overwhelming response from motorsports enthusiasts across the country to our various motorsports initiatives like Maruti Suzuki Raid- de-Himalaya, Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm, Dakshin Dare, Auto Cross etc. encouraged us to do something innovative this year. We introduced a double route format this year. This modification is in line with the expectations of motorsports enthusiasts especially amateurs, who for many years have been looking for such exciting opportunities. This is just the beginning, we will be happy to look at other formats too.”
This year’s event will see around 115 participants from the Northern parts of the country and 33 participants from southern India. 40 participants from western India and 12 from Eastern India complete the rally entourage. These motorsport enthusiasts will compete across three categories: X-treme 4-wheelers (46 teams), X-treme 2-wheelers (35 teams) (both for professional motorsport enthusiasts), and 76 enthusiast teams in the Adventure Trial category for amateurs.
Shri Jai Ram Thakur, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Minister, Shri Onkar Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, other prominent people and participants from different countries attended the flagging off ceremony.