Famed land for its royal palaces and Rajput families of strong lineage, the desert state of Rajasthan is all geared to test the best in motor rallying on parched landscapes at the 11th edition of Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm that gets underway from February 18.
The motorsport is the pride of Rajasthan, given the highly challenging conditions, tough stages and spectacular terrain, ranging from desert stretches and vast salt flats to deceptively simple dirt tracks.
Speaking about the six day challenging sporting event, Mayank Pareek, from the sponsor multinational motor company Suzuki, said, “the Desert Storm will traverse about 2200 Kms this year.” The Storm ends on February 23
Counted among the toughest motorsport rallies of the country, the rally starting at Delhi goes past outback regions, touching Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Rann of Kutch at one end and royal Jaipur at the other.
From the highlands of Himalayas to the sands of Thar Desert, Suresh Rana, the cross country specialist from Himachal and winner of 8 Raid De Himalaya rally’s, is one to be watched out at 2013 Desert Storm. The racer from Manali has also come out winner at the Desert Storm several times.
Team Mahindra has put together a dream team led by champion rallyists Gaurav Gill, Karamjit Singh, Sunny Sidhu and Lohit Urs. All these top rallysits compete in the X-treme category of the event.
Not to be left out, veterans of many rallys, Rajan Syal and Vijay Parmar intend to give the younger lot a run for their money.
Syal is the chief executive officer of Federation of Motorsport Clubs of India (FMSCI, the governing body of all motorsports events in the country.
Syal teams up as navigator for Harvijay Singh Bahia, the Agra-based shoe exporter and Formula I racer, to face the desert storm in the Xtreme category. “Motorsport is all about passion,” says Syal.
Parmar is the president of the Shimla based Himalayan Motorsport, the club that runs Raid De Himalaya, which is counted as one of the toughest events in the world and in a category of its own.
Parmar, a former champion biker, is participating in the Xtreme Moto & Quad category and rides a KTM-450 EXC at the rally.
Talk him up about midlife crisis and he laughs it out with “the joy and passion of rallying just keeps drawing me back.”