As Pramaya Ratna Pradhan received accolades from the school where he works as a teacher here on Monday, he said he stood in the third position in the Tri-Nation Himalayan Car Rally held recently in the region all because he lost time as he had to cover a distance of 105 km thrice because of his carelessness.

According to Mr Pradhan, a local Kalimpong man, he had to return to his hotel during the Nepal leg of the rally after travelling 105 km to get his wallet that he accidentally left back at the reception there.

India’s only Tri-Nation Rally involving border areas of India, Nepal and Bhutan was organized by the Federation of Motor Sports of India (FMSCI).

The 1650-km rally was flagged off in Siliguri on 23 February and ended on 28 February in Darjeeling. A total of 24 persons divided in six teams in the national category and 18 in the open category tried their mettle in the rally.

“Everyone thinks that a rally is a race, but it is not so. It is called the TSD rally and it focuses on Time, Speed and Distance,” Mr Pradhan said.

“Only a driver and a navigator is allowed inside a car, and if the navigator takes care of the route map, the calculation of speed time and distance, the driver has to maintain the speed,” he said.

According to him, five teams had participated from Kalimpong and this was the 6th Himalayan Drive organized by the FMSCI.

“This is a new and interesting thing that is happening in the North-Eastern part of India, and it also gives opportunity to car and motorcycle enthusiasts to showcase their talents,” he added.

He explained that his navigator was new and that he spent the first day teaching him the rules and how to go about doing things, while they drove to Chitwan in Nepal.

“The navigator improved his skills drastically in the second day, and he got acquainted with the calculations. We were then able to go past the obstacles and stood in the second position,” Mr Pradhan said.

“On the third day, we had to cross the Nepal border and reach Lataguri in the Dooars, and we had 650 km to cover. However, after travelling 105 km, I suddenly realized that I had left my wallet back at the hotel reception in Chitwan.

That is how I finally ended up in the third position,” he said. The Scottish University Mission Institution (SUMI), a school here, felicitated Mr Pradhan along with another participant of the rally, Pranay Thulung, on Monday.