Desert Storm 2019 was flagged off from New Delhi on 7th May. This is the seventeenth edition of India’s most prestigious international motorsport event. 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.
As reported earlier, this year, the competition comprises of only 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 – are competing this year to bag the coveted Desert Storm trophies.
The competition in Xtreme and Moto categories is divided into a number of special stages (SS). The competitor with the fastest cumulative timings after the completion of all special stages 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 gruelling 200km run. The Ndure Category follows a TSD (time-speed-distance) 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.
Following the flag off on 6th May, the competition will move towards the off-road terrain in the outbacks of Thar Desert with majority of the competitive Special Stages being held in the Bikaner and Jaisalmer districts from 8th to 11th before the eventual culmination in Jaisalmer.
Commenting on the new season of Desert Storm, 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”.
Adding about the safety, 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 and 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.”