Himalayan car rally flagged off from Shimla

Shimla, Oct.10 (ANI): Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal flagged off the twelfth motor sports rally 'Raid-de-Himalaya' from Shimla.

The eight-day long car rally, which began on Saturday, will cover 1,700 kilometers over one of the most rugged and coldest terrains in the Himalayas and conclude at Manali.

'Raid-de-Himalaya' this year has attracted 166 participants including 40 in four-wheels, 51 motorcycle riders and 75 in the adventure trail category.

Organisers said such motor sports promote adventure and tourism.

"The reason behind our event, one is of course promotion of motor sports. The other is we have something like 600 people who are travelling with the entire circus that travels along with the event. They will be going to all the remote areas. All the hotels have been booked up in the remote areas like Kaza, Keylong, every room is booked by us. So, it's business for the area," said Manjeet Bhalla, President, Himalayan Motor Sports Association.

"At the same time people who go and see these areas for the first time carry a very positive message back, because these are very remote but beautiful areas and that helps tourism and I think that is very well achieved," he added.

Bhalla also said that safety and evacuation plan meets the world body standards.

Foreign participants were excited and said the rally is challenging.

"Well, I am participating in extreme category-A motorbikes. It will be very challenging rally this year. I have been in 2007 and 2008, but this year the road is quite challenging. So, let's see how it works out," said Klaudia, a participant from Austria.

On Monday the rally will reach Manali and then to Kaza on Tuesday and finally Keylong on Thursday. (ANI)

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