NOIDA: If the flag-off event of the 15th Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm is any indication of how events will pan out for the next 6 days, participants and extreme rally aficionados are in for a complete treat. As many as 200 racers, in over four categories started their journey on Sunday from Noida to the first stop, Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, where the first stage of the rally will begin.
Seasoned pros like CS Santosh and Suresh Rana, who have made their name globally, will be the main attractions of the event. Apart from that, the rally will also see 10 women participants, including Bani Yadav and Sarah Kashyap, podium finishers of previous editions of Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm, Dakshin Dare and Raid de Himalaya. "Each and every year, we are getting bigger and better. Our bid to make this sport reachable to the masses has been successful to certain extent," Vijay Pant, Maruti Suzuki's assistant VP, marketing and sales, told Express.
"All the women drivers are good enough to compete and to win also. That is why they are here. We are hoping that it increases in the future," Pant added. Known as the mini Dakar, Desert Storm 2017 will feature a 207 km-stage which is the longest stage in Indian Motorsport history. Also this rally boasts of having a night stage ? the only one of its kind in the country. "We want to ensure that the participants get the best rally experience here. We consider this as a training ground for our professional drivers, where they get a feel of driving in the night," Pant concluded.