Pune: On the most impossible roads of the Kargil, Zanskar and Ladakh sectors, motorsport titans of India are going to clash at the 20th edition of the Raid de Himalaya - the world’s highest cross-country motorsport challenge.
Raid 2018 will run from October 8 to October 14. It will begin and end at Leh.
A total of 31 teams for Xtreme cars and trucks, 37 teams for Xtreme motorcycles and quads, 12 bikers in the Alpine two-wheeler category, and 31 teams in Adventure Trail, which follows the Time-Speed-Distance format, are going to race on the highest reaches of the Himalayas.
This year’s Raid will run its first stage on the never-before traversed section from Lamayuru, called the moonland of Ladakh, to Photoksar. Rallyists are going to race on a newly-upgraded road that was earlier a mule track into Zanskar.
Crossing the Sirisir La at a height of 4805 meters above sea level, the 20th Raid De Himalaya is going to enter the totally unchartered territory.
Raid 2018 is all set for the clash between motorsport titans Phil Mathais and Amitrajit Ghosh of Team Mahindra, 2015 Raid winner Lhakpa Tsering, 2017 Raid 2017 runners-up Sanjay Razdan and Raid 2017 overall third finisher Sanjay Agarwal.
The choice of vehicles for these motorsport champions is diverse. The gruelling rally is going to feature Mathais and Ghosh driving the XUV 500, Sanjay Razdan driving the Maruti Gypsy, Sanjay Agarwal driving the Grand Vitara, and Lakhpa Tsering of Arunachal Pradesh challenging them all with the Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo Dynamix.
Raid 2018 will see competitors racing to Umba La, a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4.496 meters above sea level. The high mountain road features more than 50 hairpin curves and dangerous drop-offs.
In 20 years, the Raid has mapped a total of 13.23 lakh kilometres over the highest motorable roads of the Himalayas, including route reconnaissance and transport stages. Competitors driving four wheelers, two-wheelers and scarabs have raced over 41,570 kilometres in two decades.
Raid de Himalaya, India’s most formidable motorsport race, is the flagship rally of the country’s leading motorsport club, Himalayan Motorsport.