CHANDIGARH: Suresh Rana, the champion rallyist from a village in Manali, is ready for one of the biggest challenges on the Indianmotorsport calendar – The Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm – the six-day-long annual event, one of the toughest and popular motorsport rallies of the country.
Entry of Suresh Rana, eight time winner of Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya, one of the top ten toughest motorsport rallies of the world, has scared his 250 competitors, all the top rallyists of the country. He drives for Team Maruti and was numero uno at the Desert Storm 2012. He drives Maruti Gypsy, but for the first time, he would be on the terrains of Rajasthan with his Grand Vitara. The village guy and rising star in the history of Indian motorsports, Rana, is confident to win the rally, while many of his competitors have already given up by their mind.
“I have competed in the Desert Storm earlier driving a Maruti Gypsy. This year, I will be driving a Grand Vitara in the event for the first time. The Desert Storm is an iconic motorsport event and I am looking forward to getting the winner’s crown for Team Maruti this year too,” said Rana, who is in his mid-30s. Rana had won the 14th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya in 2012 driving a Grand Vitara.
Pride of Rajasthan, Desert Storm presents highly challenging conditions, tough stages and spectacular terrain, ranging from desert stretches and vast salt flats to deceptively simple dirt tracks. Manali’s man Suresh Rana has emerged as the most formidable opponent at the Desert Storm and is being seen as the biggest challenge for the top stars of the Indian motorsport circuit.
The Desert Storm is among the few cross-country motorsport rallies of the world that boast of extremely testing night-driving. It will pass through the vast stretches of the Thar Desert in the outback regions of Jaisalmer and Bikaner, and reach the finish line at Jaipur. Among the most formidable champions of Rana at the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm are champion rallyists Gaurav Gill of Delhi, Karamjit Singh from Malaysia, Sunny Sidhu from Chandigarh and Lohit Urs from Mysore.
Mayank Pareek, the managing executive officer of Maruti Suzuki, said the 11th Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm will be organized from February 18 to 23. It will begin from Sardarshahar and will end at Jaipur. “The Desert Storm will traverse about 2,200 kilometers this year. It is a matter of pride for us that Maruti Suzuki has made it possible for motorsport to reach the masses and flourish in the country. Our rallies now draw the best motorsport talent in the country, and also nurture new talent among youth each year,” Pareek said.
Each February, over 250 motorsport enthusiasts from across the country converge in Rajasthan for this event. Participants compete in four-wheel drives, two-wheel drives and motorbikes in diverse categories such as Xtreme, Moto, Ndure and Xplore, to take on the challenges of the wilderness. And Suresh Rana, who is finding way to international rally events, has always been a most feared competitor in extreme rallies.