| Arvind Kumar with his Fiat at the rally in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Just as the fog was lifting on Sunday, 61 cars fought the morning chill and purred their way to the Gasolene Petrol Pump at the Boring Road roundabout.
Lions Club of Patna Femina organised the tenth edition of a car rally, which was flagged off by director-general of police Abhayanand.
The participating teams in the 120-km Patna-Bodhgaya rally were tested on three parameters — time taken, speed maintained and distance covered. Rally co-ordinator Nanda Garg said: “The teams had to stick to a speed limit of 40-45km per hour and successfully complete the entire course of the rally. The participants were divided into three categories — all women’s, general and couples.”
Among the gleaming modern-day cars stood a red classic Fiat. The cynosure of all eyes, the 1951-model car took all enthusiasts back in time. Arvind Kumar (36), its proud owner, could not have been happier with dozens of people milling around the car and eager to enquire about it.
Arvind told The Telegraph: “Participating in this rally is a good experience for me but the attention my classic beauty is drawing from the public is an achievement for the love and care I shower on my prized possession. I have come all the way from Chhapra. Winning is not that important for me.” His navigator, Deepak Singh, a civil contractor, agreed.
The number plate of the car number 48 read BRD 489.
Sharing tidbits about the Fiat, Arvind said: “My late grandfather, Baidyanath Prasad, bought this car in 1951 for Rs 35,000. It was passed on to me by my father Pawan Kumar. I have to keep sourcing the spare parts for my car from Calcutta. But some parts, which are no more available, need to be repaired now and then.”
Among the other participants was Vaibhav Bhargava in the driver’s seat of a sports utility vehicle with Anjan Sinha as navigator. Encouraging them from the back seat was Rita Sinha, Anjan wife. Vaibhav said: “We are taking part in the rally for the first time. We are looking for first-hand experience and if we win, it would be an added advantage for us.”
Women were not left behind either. The team of Smita Agrawal and Neeta Goel in a sedan was one to look out for. With Smita at the steering wheel and Neeta as navigator, the two homemakers bagged the first position in 2011 in the newcomers’ group.
A beaming Neeta said: “I hope that our participation would motivate other women too.”
Last but not the least was car number 61. The excitement among the teams was palpable.
Rashmi Sinha working in the department of education in Magadh University had come all the way from Bodhgaya to take part in the rally for the second time. Snugly seated behind the steering wheel, Rashmi, oozing with confidence, said: “I had taken part in 2011. It will be a fun-cum-competition trip for me. I am not at all nervous.”
The names of the winners of the rally would be announced on Tuesday.
Madhu Srivastava, the president of Indian Oil Femina Car Rally, said: “We take a lot of effort to ensure that the rally is a successful event. Our members, too, are participating in the rally.”