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CS Santosh and Suresh Rana claim top honours at 2016 Desert Storm

CS Santosh and Suresh Rana claim top honours at 2016 Desert Storm
Omkar Thakur Omkar Thakur Thursday 28 April 2016, 14:47 PM

The 2016 Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm concluded recently and this year saw Suresh Rana with his co-driver Ashwin Naik take victory on four wheels while Dakar ace CS Santosh rode to victory in the two wheeled fight.

Abhishek Mishra with his navigator PV Srinivas Murthy held the lead for the first two days but crashed out in the final leg handing the victory to Rana and Naik. Manpreet Ahluwalia and Virender Kashyap, in their souped-up Gypsy, who were running in third place got promoted to second place. The final results saw Suresh Rana win the 2016 Desert Storm followed by Manpreet Ahluwalia and Niju Padia with co-driver Nirav Mehta taking third.

In the two-wheeled fight, Rajasthan boy Jes David put up quite a show fighting with Santosh and Aravind in the initial stages. On the last stage, the seven minute gap between Santosh and Aravind was too much for the latter to pose a challenge to CS Santosh.

The final results saw CS Santosh lead from the outset on his Suzuki to complete the race course in 11:19:28seconds followed by Aravind KP (11:28:06s) and R Nataraj (12:25:30s). Interestingly, CS Santosh incurred a 60 minute penalty for missing a passage control section that took out most of his 44 minute overall lead until that stage.

The Desert Storm ran a slightly modified format this year to make the Ndure and Xplore categories more approachable to rallying aficionados with an aim of encouraging participation. Along with the Xplore Dawn and Xplore Dusk stages for the noobs, there was a special competitive night stage to spice up the Desert Storm.

SK Ajgar Ali with co-driver MK Mohammed Mustafa won the Ndure category while the Xplore class winner was Pratap with his co-driver Nagarajan. In the Ndure category, participants run the same course as the Xtreme category but in the TSD format. While it may sound easy, the desert heat can get the better of you over the 2000km course in the rally cars. There were also six teams of women racing the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm to represent the fairer sex in the grueling form of motorsport.

The Desert Storm is known as the Indian Dakar. The rally that is flagged off in Noida travels across the deserts of Rajasthan though Hanumangarh, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jaipur and ends in Jodhpur. The rally is divided into five legs and numerous competitive stages over 2000kms and seven days.


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