The great auto rickshaw challenge from Chennai

The humble phut-phutty has arrived. The common man's Chevrolet in India, the two-stroke auto-rickshaw suddenly finds itself under international spotlight, thanks to the Indian Autorickshaw Challenge. over 90 per cent of the participants are from abroad

The auto rickshaw drivers should cover the distance from Chennai to Kanniyakumari. ( More than 800 kilometres in a weeks time.)

Aravind Bremanandam, from Budapest, and one of the prime movers of the event says it was inspired by the Budapest-to-Bamako (B2) rally, which is Hungary's answer to the much more popular Dakar (formerly known as Paris to Dakar) off-road endurance race.

Russian Pavel Smirnov seems to be showing the way, with a "tut-tut" that is fitted with a mini refrigerator, a six-channel audio system, a computer, an air-cooling unit, neon lights underneath and, for additional effect, painted images of Tamil film heroes.

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