15th Edition of the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm || A Phenomenon Worth Witnessing

The 15th edition of Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm concluded on Saturday, 4th February 2017 in Jodhpur. After 5 days of traversing the dunes of the Thar Desert, riding and driving through thrilling terrain in the villages, towns and cities of Bikaner, Jaisalmer, and Jodhpur, the participants will go back to the relative calm of everyday lives at least for a few days. I wonder how these quieter days make these adventurers feel. Do they feel a sense of relief or do they miss the sport? Do they sleep dreamlessly after the tiring event or do they wake up suddenly in the middle of a dream in which they are still moving up and down the dunes? I believe it would be a mixture of both. A sense of relief as well as of yearning. Adventure, after all is an addiction. 


The best aspect of events like Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm is that no two days are alike. Even though all that the participants are doing throughout these 5 days is travel, each day holds its own achievements, misses, upsets, highs, and lows, which are different for each category. To understand the various categories of #MSDesert Storm, please click here


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Moto

Though in most categories, the favorites managed to gain and maintain their leads till the end, the Moto Class saw an upset in the clear favorite and defending champion CS Santosh handing over the first position in an anticlimactic twist to rival R Nataraj. Though during the first few days, CS Santosh was in the lead, followed closely by Tanveer Abdul Wahid and R Nataraj. Problems started appearing on SS6 when CS Santosh crashed through a fence, though he still managed to maintain his lead. Before this on SS5, Tanveer too faced problems with his tire and was forced to complete the stage with his rear tire separated from the rim. The excitement in the Moto Class was, however, far from over.


On SS7, CS Santosh received a 16-minute penalty, but still just managed to maintain a narrow lead. The night stage had to be cancelled for the Moto Class because of unforeseen delays during the day, but during the last stage CS Santosh was at his best. The result, though, was a bit of surprise because CS Santosh checked in 30 minutes late at the end of the final drive to parcferme, and as a result, R Nataraj emerged as the champion.
 

XTreme Category

In the XTreme category, Suresh Rana and Ashwin Naik were the clear favorites. Their team has won multiple editions of Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya and other two cross country rallies. However, in 2017, the competition appeared strong. 


The favorites recorded the fastest time in two out of first three stages, but on day 2 there was a bit of setback. Because of a calculation error, Rana and Nair checked into a stage, 8 minutes early and a 16-minute penalty was awarded to them. As a result, they ended up at the third position. However, they were quick to come back into the race and Rana managed to overtake the first two cars within the first 70 kilometers. Sanjay Agarwal and Shivaprakash C were back in pressure position once more and their Grand Vitara’s rear differential broke about 75km into the stage. They had to then quit the race.

NDure Category


Much more accessible to new competitors, the NDure category saw 4x4 vehicles traversing the same stages as the XTreme category. Driving through the lively towns and cities of Rajasthan and the sand dunes of the ethereal Thar, this would have been a perfect motivator for new competitors. The category provides enough challenge to keep them engaged. In the NDure category, Nikunj Toshniwal and co-driver Suvrajit Dutta won the trophy. 

XPlore Category

Similar to the NDure category, XPlore category is also a good place for new motorsport participants to test the waters. The category saw various types of two-wheeled cars traversing the route and a number of hatchbacks and sedans participated. This class too has its own challenges because there are a few sections in this category as well where the cars need to drive through tricky sand dunes. Vitara Brezza driven by Karthick Maruthi and S Sankar Anand took home the trophy in the Xplore category.

While the 15th edition is now over, it leaves us yearning for the 16th edition. 2018 seems too long way off. If you too miss the adrenaline rush, you need not wait as long as 2018 to experience one. Maruti Suzuki organizes many such events throughout the year. While some like the Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya and Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm are for professionals, there are events such as Maruti Suzuki Autocross Championship 2017 and Maruti Suzuki National Super league TSD Rally Championship that can be interesting for enthusiasts too. To know more about the upcoming events, please check http://www.marutisuzukimotorsport.com/.

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