Women rallyists eye glory behind the wheel

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/S/Sarikasehrawat.jpg' class='caption'> Two Indian rallyists have dared to think differently and are out to knock down every stereotype about lady drivers.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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New Delhi:

Two Indian rallyists have dared to think differently and are out to knock down every stereotype about lady drivers. Sarika Sehrawat and her navigator Revathi Iyer - though racing together for the first time in the MRF Rally – aren't unduly bothered by the stiff competition considering their past experience in motor rallying. "I've done the toughest car rally thrice – that's the Raid-de-Himalayas. I've done, you know, Desert Rallies thrice, done the sub-Himalayans, all sorts of rallies. So I'm just trying to take advantage of whatever kind of rallies are happening in North India," said Sehrawat. Facing discrimination Women rallyists have been few and far between with the exception of the likes of Nawaz Bathena. Lack of family support, hostility from male drivers and no help from the Federation have hindered their efforts. "In every rally I'm the only woman driver, so every time I do face some kind of, you know, negative and positive male vibes. But that's a part of motorsports and sport, because they feel it's a male-dominated sport, so how can a woman be there?" said Sarika. "Well, they're nicer looking than the men, that's for sure. But apart from that, I can't see any reason to promote women, or more number of women, at any rate, taking part," said Nazir Hoosein, President, Motorsport Association of India. All geared up No wonder then, that Sarika's been the only woman driver in the Indian national rally championship, as well as the national road racing championship. Now, with a new and better car, she and Revathi are following their passion and getting ready to disprove all 'lady driver' jokes. "All these years, although it was a passion, I have been keeping it deep down my heart. I've only started it once I'm free of my responsibilities. So I guess sooner or later we will realise - yes, women have a passion for motorsports as well, and women will be allowed to come back," said Revathi Iyer, motor rallyist. And while the term 'fast gal' is not one that too many Indian Women would be happy with, it's a sobriquet that's been accepted with much pride by both of these rallyists.

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