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Nazir Hoosein (16th October 1940 – 12 May, 2019) was an Indian racing driver and motorsport administrator. He was the President of the Motorsports Association of India, Vice President of the FIA for Sport, chief steward of the World Rally Championship and a member of the World Motor Sport Council.
In 1980, Hoosein founded the Himalayan Rally Association and started the Himalayan Rally, run through the world's highest mountains in the north of India. He founded the Indian Automotive Racing Club as he was unhappy with the way that motorsport was organized in India, and then helped in the forming of the Federation of Motor Sport Clubs of India (FMSCI). He became President of the FMSCI in 1984.
Hoosein put India firmly on the map of world motorsports when the First of 11 Himalayan Rallies was flagged off at Mumbai on 18th October, 1980. This 4000 Km rally was based on the Safari Rally format. The first edition received a record 30 foreign entries out of a total entry list of 90. Millions lined the streets in Mumbai to watch the flag off. Sadly the political agitation by disrupted running of the event at many Legs although and he got a lot support by way of entries from the Kenyan Rallyists. Jayant Shah was one of them and he became a household name when he won 4 editions of the same. Another popular Rallyist was Ramesh Khoda who took part in 10 editions and won in 1981.
It was Nazir's dream to make the Himalayan Rally as a World Rally Championship event , though later editions were part of the Asia Pacific Rally championship , the changing political environment and the Uttarakhand agitation which truncated the 11th edition in 1990 paid put to his ambitious plans. The Himalayan Rally carried the support of the Government and Air India who ferried the foreign cars to India for the rally.
In 1988, Hoosein organised the Great Desert-Himalaya Rally, which ran from the Thar Desert of Rajasthan through the Shivalik hills, Himachal and Ladakh. The event ended in Srinagar.
In 1993, Hoosein was elected to the World Motor Sport Council; however, in 1999 the FMSCI decided that it no longer wanted Hoosein to be their representative to the FIA. This led to Hoosein forming the Motorsports Association of India (MAI) in opposition to the FMSCI. Hoosein is an ally of FIA President Max Mosley, and assisted Mosley in gaining votes from the Asian members of the FIA throughout the 1990s. The FIA decided in 2000 that MAI should be recognised as motor sport's governing body in India. However, the Indian government refused to recognise the MAI, which meant that Hoosein was unable to represent India at the FIA. A deal was completed allowing Hoosein to be a member of the World Motor Sport Council representing People's Republic of China.
Hoosein was elected a Vice President of the FIA for Sport in 2005 as a member of the candidacy list of Max Mosley, who was re-elected as President of the FIA. The following year he was appointed as the chief steward of the World Rally Championship. He has previously been a race steward for Formula One events.
Hoosein died on 12 May, 2019 after a prolonged battle with illness. He was 78.
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