I don`t have time for rallying: Suresh Rana
New Delhi: From being a small motor workshop owner to one of India`s finest cross-country rally drivers, Suresh Rana`s journey in the adventure sport has been nothing short of inspirational.
Part of a sport that has limited fan base in India, the Manali-lad has earned more laurels than any other rallyists in the country.
Rana`s dominance in the recently-concluded Maruti Suzuki Desert Strom, which he won for the third time, proved his rallying prowess where he was the fastest among the lot in majority of the stages.
The rallyist, however, does not seriously consider his future in the sport despite having three desert storm, eight Raid-de-Himalaya and six Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) titles against his name apart from other podium finishes.
"I do not prepare for any rally. In fact, I get the vehicle just a day before the rally. Whatever distance I travel in the transportation leg helps me in getting to terms with the vehicle," Rana told PTI.
"The apple season back home starts from March and I get busy in the farm. I don`t get time for rallying. Moreover, it`s not a financially rewarding sport that I leave my business. I am over 40 years now and whatever races I do are for enjoyment," the Team Maruti driver said.
But Rana honestly admitted that prior to competing in a rally, he always remain a tensed man.
"There is always tension in my mind before a rally. The tension is about winning the event."
Rallying, just like any other motorsport, is an expensive activity to follow and requires sponsors. The way out for Rana is more short distance rallies across the country.
"This will bring more people to watch motorsport and make it more popular. Not everyone can afford to compete in week-long rallies. With companies like Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra and others sponsoring rallyists, the sport will surely gain. Rallyists like Sunny Sidhu, Lohit Urs are doing very well," he said.
Rana was always a motor enthusiast and his interest in machines induced him towards running a vehicle service station in the picturesque city of Manali in Himachal Pradesh. But, it was the sight of the speeding cars in the Raid-de-Himalaya rally passing through the curves and bends of his hometown that made him take up the sport.
"I remember watching Raid-de-Himalaya passing through Manali. I always had interest in driving cars. So, I thought why not give it a shot," Rana said.
The next assignment for Rana is Dakshin Dare, starting March 31, which traverses through the southern states comprising the plains of Tamil Nadu, the Deccan Plateau, the Nilgiris and the Western Ghats.