Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2009 flagged off
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Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2009 flagged off

Feb 17, 2008
  Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2009 flagged off
A record 170 rallyists vying for top honours | Challenge of 12 tough Special Stages enroute
New Delhi, February 17, 2008
The 7th edition of Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm was flagged off today in New Delhi. The rally was flagged off by Mr. Shashank Srivastava, Chief General Manager (Marketing) from the DLF Place, Saket in south Delhi. The six-day rally, which has many firsts to its credit, will traverse approximately 2,600 km through the interiors of Rajasthan and along the Gujarat coastline before culminating at Udaipur.

The Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm rally is one of the toughest motor-sports events in India. The rally is a mix of adventure, thrill and excitement for the participants as they tread through uncharted territory and experience the formidable Thar Desert, the rocky and uncertain Aravalli, and the slippery and white sands of the Rann of Kutch.

The route will take the 170 rallyists through competitive and transport sections. The competitive section includes tough, off-road terrain that has gravel, sand and rocks, while the transport section is run on inter-city state highways and connecting roads.

Following the ceremonial flag-off in New Delhi, the rallyists will assemble at Shahpura (outskirts of Manesar on the Delhi-Jaipur highway) where the first competitive section starts. The participants will be flagged off at midnight from Shahpura to Bikaner.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Shashank Srivastava, Chief General Manager (Marketing) Maruti Suzuki India Limited said, "Maruti Suzuki has been the pioneer in motorsports in India. We organize and support the most challenging motorsport events in the country like Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm and Maruti Suzuki Autocross, for both professional and amateur motoring enthusiasts. The demographics and psychographics in India are fast changing with the population of younger and sportier people going up. Maruti Suzuki is conscious to this change and has introduced many products that suit the younger and sportier tastes. We will create many more motorsport opportunities for a young at heart and younger India, in coming times".

This year's Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm rally will have many firsts: One, this will be the first time when an Indian rally will be conducted at night and second, this is the maiden occasion when rallyists will cross semi-dry river beds on the Aravalli.

The rally will thereafter halt at Bikaner before proceeding towards the sand dunes of Jaisalmer. As the desert sand of the mighty Thar greets the rallyists in the backdrop of the medieval fort, the four-wheel drive will come into play. After the desert, the next halt will be at Adesar, which connects the Small Rann to the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Here, the participants will rev-up their vehicles and sprint across the wet and dry sand along the Gujarat coastline – This will be the first time for any motorsports event in India to traverse this area. The rallyists will spend two nights at Adesar in tent camps. Adesar is very close to the Indo-Pakistan border and has the reputation to be fairly inhospitable.

The rally will next proceed to Udaipur, where a prize distribution ceremony will be held on the evening of February 22

The 7th Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2009 will run a mix of around 12 Special Stages to test the participants' driving skills under various conditions. The 12 stages are as follows:
  Wild cat: A drive through leopard territory via a dry river bed under the night sky
  Back to School: A simple straight-forward section through sandy farming country which can bog down the unwary
  Redline Express: Running parallel to a train track and then suddenly turning into a sandy section is not so easy that too with a
  speed evaluation.
  The Twilight Zone: This section might make the participants end up on a sand dune
  Dust to Glory: This is a stage where one can even find that he has lost the path
  Ground Zero: It may seem easy to drive through dry lakes till they reveal that they aren't really dry
  Tora Tora Tora: Situated right next to an Air Force practice range.
  Bad Max: It is a freezing level where one has to cross a 80km long river bed
  Black Gold Special: The site of local ‘Mahopar' festival features a short and twisty special track that snakes between two dunes
  and then opens at the National Highway
  Forest & Furious: The thrill of driving through the forest
  The Beach: Driving along the waves of the Arabian Sea and inhaling the salt-infused air of the high seas
  Gone in Sixty Seconds: After a long, sandy and scary drives, the last one is quite exciting with a 75 km long stretch on a flat
  horizon with no discerning landmarks
The challenging terrain has drawn a colourful and interesting blend of 170 participants from all over India. Rally enthusiasts from as far as Arunachal Pradesh to Goa, are keen to take on the challenges of the wilderness.

Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm participants include doctors, engineers, businessmen and homemakers across age groups. There are also a few all-women teams and husband-wife teams as well. The Indian Army will also be participating with its teams.

Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2009 is being organized in partnership with Northern Motorsport, for the seventh year in the running. Northern Motorsport is one of the leading motorsport organization in India and organizes a range of motorsport events for Maruti Suzuki including Auto-Cross, Rally of the North etc. With a team of well-known automotive enthusiasts, Maruti Suzuki and Northern Motorsport together are exploring the unexplored terrains of motorsports in India.