After 6 long days and some nights in the Thar Desert, the 2018 edition of the Desert Storm has finally come to an end in the Golden City of Jaisalmer.Aabhishek Mishra and Venu Rameshkumar managed to hold off an early lead in day three to finish with top honours at the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2018. While this is not Aabhishek Mishra’s first trophy in the desert, the 2018 Desert Storm saw so many new entrants take top spots it proves the exponential growth of Rally Raids in the country. While Aabhishek and his navigator, Venu Rameshkumar, covered the distance in 11: 15: 54, Raj Singh Rathore along with his navigator, Sagar Mallappa, came a close second at 11: 50: 36. The third position was bagged by Niju Padia and Nirav Mehta at 12: 35: 40 in Xtreme category.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr R S Kalsi, Senior Executive Director, Sales and Marketing, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., said, “We are humbled and encouraged to see the ever-increasing number of participants with each edition, and this year is at an all-time high. I congratulate the invincible spirit of all the rallyists who participated and completed the 16th edition of Desert Storm. Maruti Suzuki motorsports are committed to the Indian Motorsports story. Our events like the Autoprix have driven more young drivers to test their skills and qualify for our cross country rallies like the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm. We are very optimistic that the millennials would continue seizing these opportunities, and together, we would be able to create an advanced motorsports culture in India.”
Aaron Mare from Angata Racing came first in the Moto category by covering the distance in 08: 01: 20 and Santolino Lorenzo from TVS Racing came a close second covering the distance in 08: 06: 39; whereas Sanjay Kumar from Angata Racing came third at 08: 39: 09.In the NDurance category, Ashish Budhia and co-driver Arindam Ghosh won the title, while Nipul Agrawal and Kabir Mansharamani took home the trophy in the Xplore Cars category.The 16th edition witnessed the longest night leg ever stretching from Bhuwana to Majid di Basti covering over 200 km without GPX tracks, challenging the participants as they traversed through the sandy dunes in the chilly temperatures of the night.The rally concluded with an evening dedicated to the participants and felicitating the champions across categories.