As many as 150 teams with more than 300 participants in four wheelers and 43 bikers will brave the inhospitable terrains and weather conditions of the Western Himalayas to compete for the top prize in the event organised under the aegis of Himalayan Motorsport Association.
The first competitive leg of the rally will start off from Shimla on October 7 and end in Leh on October 12, covering over 1,800 kms in six days.
The tougher route this year goes through some of the highest motorable passes and human settlements in the world. These include Darcha (3360m), Keylong (3440m), Leh (3524m), Kaza (3650m), Dhanka (3894m), Losar (4079m), Rumtse (4300m), Kunzum La (4551m), Komik (4587m), Pang (4600m) and Wari La (5313m).
The four wheelers will compete in three categories: X-treme 4-wheelers (50 teams), X-treme 2-wheelers (33 teams) (both for professional motorsport enthusiasts) and 60 enthusiast teams in the Adventure Trial category for amateurs.
There will be 14 foreigners from countries like Austria, Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates participating in the rally this year.
Defending champion Suresh Rana is the favourite to win the title among four wheelers yet again.
Amongst the bikers, all eyes will be on Ashish Saurabh Moudghil, who has won the event in 2010. MORE