Shimla, Oct 8:
Heavy snowfall in higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh Wednesday halted the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, one of the world’s toughest off-road motor rallies that will take off from here Oct 5, rally organisers said.
Manjeev Bhalla, vice-president of the Himalayan Motorsport Association (HMA), the Shimla-based club that organises the annual rally, said the competitive stretches were abandoned because the track has become slippery.
“The rally was halted owing to snow on Kunzum Pass (4,500 m). The 11-km uphill stretch from Losar to Kunzum and the 17-km downhill run from Kunzum to Batal became difficult to negotiate, especially around the hairpin bends,” he said in a statement.
Bhalla said the rally was likely to resume Thursday.
In the Raid Xtreme (4X4), the high-speed and high-risk category, only 27 of the total 41 teams are left in the competition. In the Raid Xtreme (motorcycles), only 16 of the total 28 bikers are left in the fray.
In the Raid Adventure, which follows the time-speed-distance format, 41 of the total 51 teams are still in the competition.
In 2007, the Raid had to be brought to a premature end due to heavy snowfall at Patseo. The rally will finally culminate in Manali Oct 10.
Raid de Himalaya is one of the two Indian motorsport events listed on the off-road rally calendar of international automobile and motorbike federations – FIA and FIM. Only 12 international motoring events worldwide are listed in this calendar.