The 14th Raid-de-Himalaya organised by Maruti Suzuki was flagged off in the presence of Sunila Dhar, deputy general manager (marketing), Maruti Suzuki, here on Saturday.
The participants will cover a total distance of 1,800km in six days, and will deal with undulating terrains, rough roads, and uncertain and extreme weather conditions en route to Leh. The tough route this year goes through some of the highest motorable passes and human settlements including Losar (4,079mt), Rumtse (4,300mt), Kunzum La (4,551mt), Komik (4,587mt), Pang (4,600mt) and Wari La (5,313mt).
This challenging event offers total prize money of Rs10 lakh while the winner will be richer by Rs2 lakh in each category. In all, 260 participants will take part in the four-wheeler (Xtreme and Adventure) and two-wheeler categories. The rally will also feature 14 foreigners from Austria, The Netherlands and UAE while holder Helmut Frauwallner (Austria) will be looking to retain his title.
Meanwhile, Army’s Dr Capt Ritu Biyani of Pune, who will be participating in the Adventure category, is the centre of attraction as he has fought cancer. “I wanted to participate in the rally to overcome my fear. This being my first rally, I will go steady and gain experience. Moreover, I will campaign the ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Drive’ during the event,” said Ritu.