Leh: Suresh Rana/Ashwin Naik, driving a Grand Vitara, were crowned champions in the X-Treme four-wheeler category while Helmut Frauwallner lifted the trophy in the two-wheeler category as the 15th edition of the Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya culminated here on Saturday.
Rana won the coveted trophy for an astonishing ninth time, and his second with Naik as co-driver.
Rana described his win as "fantastic" but rued the fact that there was less rivalry in this edition of the most exciting motorsport event in India.
"I want more teams to participate so that competition level goes up. As of now, I am the only one here. Sunny Sidhu is the driver who could have challenged me. Overall, it`s been a fanstastic win for me," said Rana.
Rana had an overall timing of 9:46:23 hrs over six days.
Sanjay Agarwal/Shiv Prakash, driving a Gypsy, finished as first runner-up with cumulative timing of 10:10:35 hrs while Harpreet Bawa/Parminder Thakur were second runner-up having clocked 10:11:23 hrs.
Jagmeet Gill/Chandan Sen of Team Maruti lifted the trophy in the Adventure Trial 4W category with an overall penalty of 0.03.46 hrs.
Subir Roy/Md Mustafa was first runner up with a penalty of 0.03.53 hrs while Kaushal Patel/Gaurav Patel were ranked overall third with cumulative penalty of 0.04.01 hrs.
The rally travelled 1800 kms over six days which included the highest motorable passes and inhospitable sub zero temperatures.
Frauwallner from Austria was crowned champion in the X-Treme 2W category with a cumulative timing of 9.09.54 hrs. Stephan Rausch from Germany clocked 10.08.05 hrs and finished as first runner-up while Bangalore based R Nataraj was second runner up with an cumulative timing of 11.05.10 hrs.
"Last year, it was tough for me as I had some physical issues. But this year, I was fit and drove really fast," said the 55-year-old Frauwallner.
In this edition, out of the 75 cars, bikes and scooters that had entered the X-Treme category, 29 finished the rally ? inclusive of all 5 participants in the newly created Scooters category.
In the Adventure Trial category, out of the 62 cars that had been flagged off, a remarkable 41 made it through the final leg of the rally.
Congratulating the winners, Manohar Bhat, Vice President (Marketing), Maruti Suzuki India Limited said, "The participation this year is the highest ever and it has been increasing with every edition. Today Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya is favourite amongst not just the young and old but young at heart, professionals or simply anyone who loves motorsport."
This year`s rally saw a huge contingent of women participants. Many of the notable first were an all women team Himachal Police comprising Constable Munish Mehta and Constable Richa Sharma, another all-women pair from Indian Army constituted by Maj Smitha of ASC and Capt Madhavi Singh of EME.
Sheetal Bidaye of Mumbai became the first ever Indian woman to compete in Raid X-Treme while 20-year-old Kalyani Potekar of Pune was the youngest woman biker who braved the Himalayas in the Raid X-Treme (Alpine) category.
The rally travelled through the highest altitudes in the world. Enroute, the Raid traversed through two of the highest motorable passes Wari La (5250 mts) and Khardung La (5602 mts) and highest human settlements in the world at Komik (4587 mts).
Other exciting places the Rai-de-Himalaya passed through included Rohtang Pass, Kunzum La (4551 mts), Losar (4079 mts), Kaza (3650 mts), Dhankar (3894 m), Darcha (3360 m), Keylong (3440 m), Pang (4600 m), Tanglang La, Rumtse (4300 m) to conclude at Leh (3524 m).
X-Treme (4X4): Suresh Rana/Ashwin Naik: 9.46.23 Hrs, Sanjay Agarwal/Shiva Prakash E 10.10.35, Harpreet Bawa/Praminder Thakur: 10.11.23 Hrs
X-Treme (Moto and Quads): Helmut Frauwallner: 9.09.54 Hrs, Stephan Rausch: 10.08.05 Hrs, R Nataraj: 11.05.10 Hrs. Adventure Trial ? Jagmeet Gill/Chandan Sen: 0.03.46 Hrs, Subir Roy/Md. Mustafa: 0.03.53 Hrs, Kaushal Patel/Gaurav Patel: 0.04.01 Hrs.
X-Treme (Alpine): Sajan Preet Singh, Baljeet Singh, Chirag Thakur
Scooters: Kunal Rao, Amit Belgaonkar.