February 25, 2009 2:25:18 am
Even when driving his fathers Isuzu as a 14-year-old,Umesh Raheja was certain he would make a reliable driver later in his life.
Now 27,Raheja,riding on his passion,has made it to the top of the heap,many times over. Along with his brother,Yogesh,31,Raheja took pole position as champion rally drivers in the Xplore Category of the seventh Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm Rally 2009. This is the brothers third consecutive title (the first in 2007) in the Xplore Category (where participants encounter a variety of terrains).
The siblings from Delhi were presented with a cheque for Rs 1 lakh at the rallys closing ceremony held at Udaipur,the culminating point of the rally,over the weekend.
The six-day car and bike rally traversed the sand dunes of the Thar,the bumpy terrain at the foot of the Aravallis and the along the Rann of Kutch. Winning was a pleasant surprise. We participated in the rally just to have fun, said Umesh.
Among the 32 participants in the category,the brothers appeared most hopeful for the first place due to the advanced electronic add-ons in their vehicle and superior teamwork. All other participants were betting on us to win. We never had such expectations, added Umesh,who got an electronic jack,an automatic wench used for F1 cars and electric tyre pressure monitoring system installed in his grey Swift.
But more than the advanced electronics or the 4mm-thick Yokohama Rally-approved tyres,it was the sibling bond that helped them bag the trophy. I am fortunate to have my brother as the navigator. He instructs me and I obey him blindly, smiled Umesh,who spends Rs 3 lakh as maintenance cost for the car during every rally. For the duo,as with other participants,the expense comes secondary to the feeling of close camaraderie these six days achieves for them.
These five days helps me understand my brother better. I never knew he was an extrovert. He also weighs his options carefully before taking any decision, said Yogesh,who postponed important corporate engagements to indulge in his passion for rallying. The brothers now plan to invest the prize money on their cars maintenance.
Other winners were Suresh Rana in the Xtreme category,Gaurav Chirpal in Ndure and Mohan Lal Sharma in the Moto categories respectively.
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