The 12th Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2014 is all set to be flagged off on February 22 from Delhi and will end at Jaipur on March 1st. The Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm is one of the toughest and most popular rallies in the country given the conditions, tough stages and spectacular terrain ranging from desert stretches and vast salt flats to dirt tracks.
APRC (Asia Pacific Rally Championship) winner Gaurav Gill will take on the defending champion Suresh Rana at the event. Earlier, Suresh Rana of Team Maruti has beaten Gaurav Gill, twice at the Desert Storm, in 2012 and 2013. Suresh Rana has won the Desert Storm thrice – 2009, 2012 and 2013. He is also nine-time winner of the Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya.
Spicing up the competition at the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2014 is Karamjit Singh of Malaysia APRC champion in 2001, 2002 and 2004. He is driving for Team Maruti at the Desert Storm this year. The other major competitors in the Xtreme category (4X4) at the event are Amanpreet Ahluwalia, Lohit Urs, Sunny Sidhu, Sandeep Sharma, Harpreet Bawa, Major Amarinder Singh Brar, Lt. Col Shakti Bajaj, Sarika Sehrawat, Amartej Pal Buwal and Gaurav Chiripal.
Mr Manohar Bhat, Vice President Marketing, Maruti Suzuki said the Desert Storm will traverse a grueling 2,200 kilometers through the rough outback of Sardarshahar, Bikaner and Jaisalmer to finally end at Jaipur. “It is a matter of pride for us that about 265 champion rallyists from the country and abroad will compete in the event. The Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm has graduated from a single-category event in 2003 to an event running in four categories since 2011 – Xtreme, Moto, Ndure and Xplore,” he said.
The President of Northern Motorsport, Mr. Jayesh, who organizes the Desert Storm, said the 2014 edition will have 55 teams in Rally Xtreme (4X4) and 35 teams in Rally Moto (Motorcycles). In addition, there will be 35 teams in Rally Ndure and 25 in Rally Xplore. Both these categories follow the Time-Speed-Distance format. Rally Ndure is the more challenging category here, since it follows the Xtreme route. The Xtreme (4-wheelers), Endure and Xplore teams comprise two rallyists each – the driver and the navigator.