Desert Storm 2019, the seventeenth edition of India’s most prestigious international motorsport event, was flagged-off from New Delhi on 7th May. The Rally-Raid format event will now travel towards the interiors of the Thar Desert through Bikaner before eventually culminating in the sand dunes of Jaisalmer.
Desert Storm was launched by Northern Motorsport, India’s premier motorsport club, way back in 2003. Ever since, the event continues to test the extreme thresholds of both man and machine. Even today, the Desert Storm continues to be the longest cross country rally in India and the toughest in the desert as competitors battle extreme weather conditions, tough terrains, and navigational challenges to make their way to finish box.
This year, the competition is employing three of the traditional Desert Storm categories – Xtreme (cross-country rally for 4WD cars), Moto (cross country rally for motorbikes), and Ndure (regularity rally for 4WD cars). Over 130 participants, with 34 teams (comprising of driver & co-driver) in Xtreme Category, 8 teams (comprising of Driver & Co-Driver) in Ndure Category, and 40 riders in the Moto Category will compete against each other in their respective categories to claim the coveted Desert Storm trophies and infinite bragging rights.
Raj Kapoor, Co-Founder, Northern Motorsport said,
It gives us immense pleasure to bring you another action-packed edition of the Desert Storm. After this journey spanning 17 years, it is humbling to see the love and admiration that Desert Storm 2019 is receiving from all quarters of the rallying fraternity. In these 17 years, our contenders have made a name for themselves in countless national & international motorsport events, testifies the competition’s role in supporting the development of India’s rally-racing scene.
We are pleased to welcome Polaris India as Official Vehicle Partner, Mahindra Adventure as our Emergency Vehicle Partner, Mountain Dew as our Courage Partner, DLF Place Saket as our Venue partner, and Pinkishe as our NGO partner for the event. I would like to wish all the best to the competitors at Desert Storm 2019 – May the best emerge victorious!
The competition in Xtreme & Moto categories is divided into a number of special stages (SS). The competitor with fastest cumulative timings after the completion of all SS wins. This year, competitors in the Xtreme category will face 10 SS and those in the Moto category will be facing 7 SS. The longest stage in the Xtreme & Moto categories will feature a grueling 200 KM run in the extreme wilderness. The Ndure Category follows a Regularity rally a.k.a TSD format wherein the driver co-driver duo is tasked to check-in at designated but undisclosed check-posts in precise time, based on a provided speed chart.
Jayesh Desai, Co-Founder, Northern Motorsport said,
In view of the extreme summer temperatures in western Rajasthan, this year we have provisioned for special stages to be held either at early morning or evening. In a first, it is now mandatory for Moto Group B & C competitors to carry hydration backpack, as they are most vulnerable to getting stuck or lost in the desert. We will also run a highly-equipped fleet of Mahindra Adventure 4X4 vehicles for prompt medical intervention.
Pankaj Dubey, Managing Director Polaris India, said,
Polaris India is proud to be associated with Desert Storm this year. Polaris Industries has always been at the forefront in offering the world’s best off-road capable machines. This competition will help us to further establish the capability of our vehicles and also promote the spirit of adventure in our country. I wish the best to the contenders at Desert Storm 2019.
Screening the participating vehicles for their adherence to Government-recognized FMSCI mandatory specifications, the vehicle scrutineering was held on 6th at DLF Place Saket in New Delhi. The contestants who successfully cleared the scrutineering process proceeded for the ceremonial flag-off, held at the same location. A mandatory drivers’ briefing was held in the auditorium of Cinepolis DLF Place Saket.
Muckth Dogra, Centre Head, DLF Place Saket, remarked on the occassion,
We are thrilled to be associated with the 17th edition of Desert Storm that flags off from DLF Place Saket. We take pride in nurturing events that bring distinctive communities together and foster social engagement. Hosting the ceremony gives us the opportunity to appreciate tremendous determination, endurance and resilience of enthusiastic participants. It is also our way of celebrating their great sense of camaraderie. We wish them success and hope that the rally continues to strengthen the community of motor sports in India.
After the flag off from New Delhi, the competition will move towards the off-road terrain in the hinterlands of Thar Desert with majority of the competitive Special Stages being held in the Bikaner & Jaisalmer districts of western Rajasthan from 8th to 11th before the eventual culmination with a glittering prize distribution ceremony at Marriot Resort & Spa, Jaisalmer.
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