The 12th Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm, the annual six-day marathon motorsport event, finished at Jaipur today after traversing approximately 2,200 kilometers over the Thar Desert and the entire span of the dune country.
Mr Manohar Bhat, Vice President Maruti Suzuki said it was remarkable that in a marathon motorsport event open to participation of vehicles of all makes, seven out of the total 9 prizes went to Maruti-manufactured vehicles.
The top prize in the Rally Ndure category went to Satish Gopalkrishnan and navigator Savera D’Souza, driving a Grand Vitara for Team Maruti Suzuki. 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.
Second in Rally Ndure is the team of Pratap Thakur and navigator Dhiraj Arora, driving a Maruti Gypsy, again for Team Maruti Suzuki. Third in Rally Ndure is Ashish Budhia and navigator Arindam Ghosh.
In Rally Xtreme, the first prize went to Sunny Sidhu of Chandigarh with navigator PVS Murthy. The second prize was won by Sandeep Sharma of Delhi and Varun Davessar of Chandigarh, 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 ranked first, driving an SX4 for Team Maruti Suzuki. Second in the category was Nitin Yadav with navigator Ravi Bansal, driving a Mahindra Scorpio. The third prize in the category went to Sanjay Takale with navigator Mustafa, driving SX4 for Team Maruti Suzuki.
In Rally Moto (Motorcycles), CS Santosh of Bangalore retained his title as India’s top biker by ranking first, driving a Suzuki RMX 450. The second prize in this category went to Helmut Frauwallner of Austria, driving a Yamaha WR450F. Third in Rally Moto was Suresh Babu, driving a Suzuki RMS 450Z.
The rally was flagged off from Delhi on February 26. It moved though the wild outback region of Sardarshahar, Bikaner, Chattargarh, Jaisalmer, Sam, Pokhran, Lakshmangarh and other areas to finally end at Jaipur.
Mr Manohar Bhat, Vice President of Maruti Suzuki, said it was a matter of pride that the number of competitors was 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.
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 time-speed-distance format).