Rally organisers, the Himalayan Motorsport Association, have introduced six speed zones in parts of the route deemed dangerous. Drivers and riders alike across categories will have to bring there speed down to 30 km/hr in the specified speed zones. Failure to comply will result in the participant receiving twice the penalty time he/she incurs in a leg.
"This is the first time we have introduced such a thing. There are some very dangerous parts in the rally where there is a big drop. We want the drivers to take it easy in those parts and not get pressurised into making a big mistake," Himalayan Motorsports vice president Manjeev Bhalla said.
"This is one of the toughest rallies in the world and a participant goes through a lot of stress. We want to lessen their burden and make it more safe for everyone," he said.
Stephan Rausch from Germany, taking part in his second Raid in the X-treme (Motorcycles and Quads) category, too felt that there were some very dangerous sections in the rally.
"There are quite a few dangerous sections but that is what makes it so fun. I love this rally, it is one of the toughest and most challenging but I guess safety of a person is paramount," Rausch told IANS.
In 2001, a fatal tragedy struck Raid driver Nand Lal Chaudhary (31) and navigator Jaswinder Paul (30) when they went off the Kingal-Basantpur stage.
Track marks suggested that the car had slipped. It fell into a deep gorge, killing both Choudhary and Paul.
After that edition, minor accidents have taken place but none where anyone has lost their life.
--IANS (Posted on 07-10-2013)