By Brij Khandelwal
Agra, Dec 26 (IANS) Participants in the national Gumball 3000-kilometre drive from Kanyakumari will reach Agra on Sunday afternoon.
A function has been organised to welcome them at the hotel Courtyard by Marriott, the finishing point of the rally.
A key organiser of the event, Rajiv Gupta told IANS that the rally had been organised to spread the message of One Nation One People and to promote national integration plus road safety awareness.
Gupta said “this is not a race but a drive. Continuous driving for 3000 kilometres by a crew of two people is a test of endurance and this is further complicated by the fact that they have to pass through all the checkpoints before reaching the finishing line. The checkpoints are only revealed to competitors when they start so that advance route planning cannot be done.”
A member of the organising team Prashant Jain said the key “to winning is navigation as the competitors have to find the shortest distance from start to the end while checking in at all the mandatory checkpoints. While driving the competitors have to observe all traffic rules including speed limits. The drivers share time behind the wheel so that they are able to minimise stoppage time to the bare minimum.”
According to the organisers 20 participants have signed up for this event and they hail from all over the country. “We have participants from Jammu, Dehradun, Kolkata, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Bhopal, Kolhapur, Belgaum, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi. There are three teams of specially-abled drivers,” Jain added.
Rajiv Gupta said the chief guest at the prize distribution function on Sunday will be Padma Shri and Khel Ratna awardee Deepa Malik, a para-athlete.
The Gumball format is popular all over the world as a driving competition for testing the endurance of the crew. Gumball is going to be an annual feature on the Indian motorsports calendar. Two towns in the country would be linked covering 3000 plus kilometres of driving.
Gumball India 2020 has been organised by the same team, Motorsports Agra and Incarnation Sports, that conducts The Agra Taj Car Rally.
By Brij Khandelwal