Kaza: As Maruti Suzuki `Raid de Himalaya` motorsport rally completes its fifth leg, out of the 22 surviving x-treme category four-wheelers, 21 are Maruti Gypsy with the exception of just one Suzuki Grand Vitara.
"Gypsy are the most suitable vehicle for the inhospitable terrains of the Western Himalayas," said Navdeep Bhalla, an official from the Himalayan Motorsport Association, under whose aegis the 12th edition of the motorsport event is being organised.
Suresh Rana from Manali and his navigator Ashwin Naik from Mangalore are leading the category with their rally No-2 Gypsy.
The 2008 model Gypsy run by five-time champion Rana is designed by Red Rooster. Rana has been consistently winning the raid in x-treme category since 2004 but for the last year when his car broke down just 10 km from the finish line.
"It feels good to lead the rally. We are maintaining a good timing with our Gypsy. Our motto is to finish the rally safely," said a confident Rana.
The only Suzuki Grand Vitara left in the race chasing Rana is being driven by Gaurav Chiripal with his navigator C G Raghuram.
"Our pace in the rally so far has been good. Though, we faced a few issues with the tyres, this year we are here to test the true performance of our car."
"And, if our Vitara does well then Gypsy needs to graduate and I am sure next year we will see more Vitaras in the race," exulted Chiripal, a participant from Gurgaon.
Capt. Sameer Narula of New Delhi with his navigator Honey Narula is following Rana and Naik at number two in the extreme category at the end of the fifth leg.
The third place was secured by Harpreet Singh Bawa from Chandigarh with navigator Parminder Thakur.
A total of 43 x-treme category four-wheelers were flagged off from Hotel Peterhoff in Shimla on October 9.