After a gruelling and exciting journey of around 2200 km
across sandy Rajasthan, the 12th Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm came to an end in
Jaipur, the capital city of the State. The annual six-day marathon motorsport
event saw all kinds of vehicles race across the splendid Thar Desert.
Interestingly, though the motorsport event was open to participation
of vehicles of all kinds, seven out of the nine prizes went to Maruti vehicles.
This was stated by Manohar Bhat, Vice President Maruti Suzuki.
In the Rally Ndure category, the top honours when to Satish
Gopalkrishnan and navigator Savera D’Souza. The duo drove a Grand Vitara for
Team Maruti Suzuki. Incidentally, Satish, the software guru from Bangalore, is
the man who developed the TSD meter to change the face of time-speed-distance
rallying in the country.
Behind Satish were the team comprising Pratap Thakur and
navigator Dhiraj Arora. They were driving a Maruti Gypsy, again for Team Maruti
Suzuki. The third spot went to Ashish
Budhia and navigator Arindam Ghosh.
In Rally Xtreme category, the first prize went to Sunny
Sidhu of Chandigarh with navigator PVS Murthy. The second prize was claimed by
Sandeep Sharma of Delhi and Varun Davessar of Chandigarh. The team was driving
a Maruti Gypsy. The third prize in Rally Xtreme went to Amartej Pal Buwal of
Delhi and navigator Nakul Mendiratta, driving a Maruti Gypsy.
In Rally Xplore, Rajesh Chalana and navigator Yogesh
Gupta romped home first. They were driving an SX4 for Team Maruti Suzuki.
Second, in a Mahindra Scorpio, was Nitin Yadav with navigator Ravi Bansal. The
third prize in this category went to Sanjay Takale with navigator Mustafa,
driving SX4 for Team Maruti Suzuki.
In Rally Moto (Motorcycles), it was déjà vu for CS
Santosh of Bangalore who went on to retain his title as India’s top biker by
ranking first, driving a Suzuki RMX 450. The second prize went to Helmut
Frauwallner of Austria, driving a Yamaha WR450F. The third prize winner was was
Suresh Babu, driving a Suzuki RMS 450Z.
The rally was flagged off from Delhi on February 26. It went
through Sardarshahar, Bikaner, Chattargarh, Jaisalmer, Sam, Pokhran,
Lakshmangarh and other areas to finally end at Jaipur.
“It is a matter of pride that the number of competitors is
growing each year at the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm. The 12th Maruti Suzuki
Desert Storm ran with the highest number of rallyists in its 12-year-history. A
total of 250 champion rallyists from various parts of the country and abroad
competed in various categories,” said Bhat.
There were 55 teams in Rally Xtreme and 35 teams in Rally
Moto (both categories based solely on fastest timing). In addition, there were
35 teams in Rally Ndure and 25 teams in Rally Xplore (both based on the
Gopalkrishnan and Savera D'Souza, winners of Rally Ndure, driving a Grand
Vitara for Team Maruti Suzuki
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