Motorsports: C S Santosh among 130 entries for Desert Storm
New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS): One of India's top cross-country rallies, Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm, will be flagged off from here Monday with over 130 participants, notably two-wheeler ace C.S. Santosh who last month became the first Indian to complete the Dakar Rally in South America.
The six-day rally will cover about 2,300 kms starting from New Delhi and traversing through Sardarshahar, Bikaner, Jaisalmer before concluding in Jaipur March 1.
The rally would be held in XTreme, NDure, XPlore and Moto-Quad categories. The route comprises shifting sand dunes of the Thar Desert and dried up lake beds that will test driving, riding and navigational skills.
This year's route is touted to be the toughest as compared to previous years. The rally gets into its stride with a 150 km long night stage near Sardarshahar, the first halt after the flag-off from here.
Thereafter, the participants will have to negotiate five more Special Stages criss-crossing the Thar desert that in the past has defeated the best of crews.
Defending champion Santosh, the 31-year-old from Bengaluru who finished 36th overall out of 168 entries in the Dakar Rally, will be representing Team Suzuki.
Announcing the 13th edition of Desert Storm, Mahohar Bhat, vice president, marketing, Maruti Suzuki India said: "Maruti Suzuki has been at the forefront of extreme motorsports in India."
"Desert Storm is one of India's most gruelling rallies. Motorsport rallies bring out the best in man and machine and we are looking forward to exceedingly exciting times ahead."