To celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and India, the Bengal motor sports club (BMSC) is organising the 6th car rally on March 11.

Tourism minister of West Bengal, Gautam Deb will flag off the car rally from Siliguri. It will take three days to reach Thimphu covering 450 kilometers.

Secretary General of BMSC, Arun Bhatia said the club is expecting around 40 teams including about 10 teams from Bhutan. He also said that they are expecting around five women’s teams. Registration for the rally is open until February 15 at

He said contestants from all over India are expected to participate in the rally. “For the event to be successful, it is critical to design the route,” he said.

Through the route study, the organisers find out places the drivers need caution, assess where mobile towers are not working and make sure the drivers do not get lost. “Safety is the main concern in motor sports,” he said.

Contestants are also given a route map before the rally flags off. As it is a two men team, one drives and the other navigates.

The route comprises of dense forest, riverbeds, hilly areas, highways and broken surface roads. They are accompanied by an ambulance, and rescue teams.

“As the rally will be through riverbeds, the rescue team will help in case a car gets stuck,” Arun Bhatia said. A team of officials from BMSC completed the route study for the rally on January 22 in Thimphu.

The Bhutan India Friendship Association (BIFA) Thimphu, India Bhutan Friendship Association (IBFA) New Delhi and the Bhutan Sports Federation are also involved in the event. The rally ends in Thimphu with prize distribution on March 13.

Tenzin Thinley and Chimi Rinzin