Manali: Suresh Rana of Patlikulah, a remote region in Himachal Pradesh, has created history in the Indian motorsports by winning the X-treme four-wheelers category of the Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya for the sixth time.
"My car supported me a lot. It feels good to win the most arduous motorsport across the Western Himalayas. The friendly temperature also contributed in my victory," an elated Rana told reporters after reaching the finish line of the transport leg here.
The first stage of the final competitive leg was flagged off from Patseo today and ended at the Whisky Nala and the second one ran from Whisky Nala to Sarchu.
Rana and his professional navigator Ashwin Naik, from Mangalore, enjoyed each stage of all the legs throughout the six-days of the rally in the 12th edition of the rally.
"It always feels good to create a history and then break your own history. And, then create a new one," said Naik, who has participated in more than 150 national and international rallies.
"When I learnt the spelling of rallying, I wrote Himalaya along with it. So, I just feel on the top of this world to win this rally today," added Naik, who runs his IT business back home in Mangalore.
But, whereas Rana plans to retire from motorsports, his navigator Naik is enthusiastic to come back next year. However, Rana also confirmed that if insisted by his sponsors or friend Naik, he may be seen racing his Gypsy once again across the most inhospitable terrains of Western Himalayas next year also.
Asked about the reasons for the same, Rana said in a lighter vein, "Others should also be given a chance. I have no more space left for the trophies".
"Gypsys are the most reliable vehicle for such rallies. They are cheaper to run and also their spare parts are easily available. Though, undoubtedly if invested some more building years, Vitara is the next future of motor sports in India," Naik said, talking about their reliable 2008 model Gypsy that cruised them to the invincible victory.
Captain Sameer Narula of Delhi, with his navigator Honey Narula, is following Rana and Naik at number two in X-treme category at the end of the rally.
The third place is secured by Harpreet Singh Bawa from Chandigarh with navigator Parminder Thakur.
The prize distribution for the event will take place tomorrow here, where the winners will be felicitated by Himalayan Motorsports Association and Maruti Suzuki, the organisers of the motorsports event.