LAHORE: As many as 38 drivers, including a woman, participated in the city’s first off-road jeep rally on Sunday.
Mian Shakeel Ahmed, a former champion of the Cholistan Jeep Rally, won the race in Category A by covering the track in 14 minutes and 43 seconds.
The event, titled Lahore Off-Road Challenge, was arranged in the River Ravi bed by the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP) in collaboration with the city government and the Lahore Division commissioner.
Off-road jeep rally on 27th
Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman inaugurated the rally for which vehicles had been divided into nine categories.
TDCP Managing Director Ahmar Malik said the rally had been planned on the pattern of Cholistan Jeep Rally. However, he said, the process to select drivers was slightly different from the Cholistan event. The organisers had waived qualifying round and selected the order of drivers through a draw.
Malik said the 17-kilometre track in the river bed featured obstacles in the form of sandy soils, hard surfaces, muddy patches and ditches. It was a single-lap, time-trial race allowing the drivers to get on the track with a lapse of five minutes.
Malik said the rally would help promote Lahore’s culture and heritage. He said the city had various attractions for tourists from across the world. “Such events help promote the country’s soft image and bring people closer to their culture and heritage. I hope that the rally will soon become a mega international event… the city’s infrastructure is conducive for hosting tourists from the world over,” he said.
Jeep rally kicks off with parade
An event promoting strawberry cultivation along the river was also arranged. The visitors thronged fruit stalls and the strawberry stock was sold out in a couple of hours, according to the organisers.
Malik said they had limited time to arrange the rally and to reach out to the participating drivers.
Racer Nadir Magsi praised organisers for holding Lahore’s first off-road jeep rally. He said such events should be arranged across the country to promote motor sport and the country’s soft image.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2016.
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