India's leading passenger vehicle manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) flagged off the 14th edition of its popular Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm rally amidst much fanfare from Great India Place Mall, Noida today. Covering a total of 2000 kms, the rally will steer through the sand dunes and rocky terrains of Hanumanagarh, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur in Rajasthan. The last leg of the rally will conclude in the sandy expanse of Jodhpur on April 10th through a prize distribution ceremony.
This year 200 motorsport enthusiasts are expected to be part of the rally, a highest ever participation proving the growing popularity of motorsports in the country. The rallyists come from various cities across India like Jaipur, Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Chandigarh and Bangalore.
Vitara Brezza, the new launched compact urban SUV from Maruti Suzuki will be seen cruising through the rally route.
Sharing about the rally, Mr RS Kalsi Executive Director (M&S), Maruti Suzuki India said, "Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm rally is a true test of endurance, it pushes man and machine to extreme limits as they navigate across the barren arid and sandy dunes of Rajasthan. Introduced in 2002, the rally fulfils the objective of providing the thrill of off-road rallying to motorsport enthusiasts. While there is thrill and adventure, the TSD format promotes safe driving habits amongst participants. This year we have tried to take the experience one notch higher by introducing flexi-format in Xplore category. We are confident that such innovations bring value to the motorsport and lead to an increase in the popularity of motorsports in India."
Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm rally will span over six-days and will be held in four categories - XTreme, NDure, XPlore & Moto.
With an aim to make the rallies even more exciting and fun, this year's event will follow flexi-route format in the Xplore category (Delhi to Jaisalmer (Xplore Dawn) and from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur (Xplore Dusk). Both these legs will run for 3 days and will run independent of each other. The objective of such a format is to provide short length rally exposure and encourage bigger participation.
To enhance the excitement levels a night leg of the rally covering 200 kms is planned for the second day in the Bikaner to Jaisalmer section.
Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm rally is one of the toughest motorsport rallies. It is organised annually by the company in association with Northern Motorsports.
This year's Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm rally will witness champions from past rallies like Suresh Rana, Sandeep Sharma, C S Santosh and Karthick Maruthi. Bani Yadav and her navigator, Sukhbans Mann, past 3-time winners of Desert Storm, will be one of the 6 women teams participating in the rally this year. Winner of Desert Storm 2010 and 2015, Aabhishek Mishra, from Jaipur will be seen driving the Maruti Suzuki Vitara and Karthick Maruthi will be driving the Vitara Brezza..