Desert Storm, Leg 6: Rana, Santosh victorious in Xtreme and Moto class

Suresh Rana and CS Santosh have won their respective categories at Desert Storm, following the conclusion of the final leg on Saturday in the Thar Desert.

The 14th edition of Desert Storm included six legs spread across Noida to Jodhpur, with participants covering a total distance of over 2000 kms, primarily in the Thar Desert.

Aabhishek Mishra had been leading the Xtreme category since the opening leg, establishing a reasonable lead over Rana despite a power steering failure in leg 3.

But Mishra’s chances of defending his title evaporated in the second stage of leg 5A when his Grand Vitara barreled over, rendering him out of the rally.

The car sustained heavy damage - particularly to its front fascia and the rear end - but both Mishra and his co-driver  PV Srinivas Murthy were unhurt.

Mishra’s crash put Rana (co-driver Ashwin Naik) in the lead, who duly took the flag on Saturday, beating his nearest rival Amanpreet Ahluwalia by a mammoth margin of 70 minutes.

This was Rana’s second title of the year after India Baja.

Meanwhile, Niju Padia, who had been steadily making progress since finishing ninth on day 1, took the final spot on the podium, while also emerging as the winner in his sub-class.

Jasmohan Singh was classified fourth, nearly 30 minutes adrift of Padia, while S.Bajaj from Team Army rounded off the top five positions.

The daunting challenge of Desert Storm took a toll on its participants, with only 22 able to make it to the flag in the Xtreme category.

One of the biggest casualties was 2015 Lhakpa Tsering who’s Polaris burnt to ashes due to a fuel pump failure on the second leg.

Women drivers showed grit and determination while competing against their male counterparts, with the all-women lineup of N Smitha and Ashika Menezes finishing 13th with a total time of 19hr09m40s.

Aashima Kaushik, who recently took part in the Royal Rajasthan Rally, finished in 20th place.

Santosh takes Moto class crown

The Moto class of Desert Storm has been a one-man affair with  CS Santosh leading from start to finish to take a comfortable victory.

Santosh extended his advantage to as much as 44 minutes in leg 4 before receiving a 1 hour penalty in the next leg.

However, such was his pace that he still remained on top, eventually winning the cross-country rally by over eight minutes.

Last year’s Raid de Himalaya winner Aravind KP finished as the runner-up in the leading TVS RTR 450 bike, with fellow TVS rider R Nataraj finishing an hour down in third place.

Jes David, who ran as high as second in the early stages, dropped down as the rally progressed, eventually finishing in fourth place.

Team Austria’s Rene Steinhart’s recovered enough from his leg 3 travails to finish in seventh position, showing impressive pace in the latter part of the rally.

In the Xplore category, Pratap took victory with a total penalty time of 2m01s, with Rajesh Chalana and Karthick Maruti completing the podium.

Full Xtreme results:

Pos

Driver

Time

1

 Suresh Rana

12hr52m03s

2

 Amanpreet Ahluwalia

14hr02m11s

3

 Niju Padia

14hr05m41s

4

 Jasmohan Singh

14hr34m27s

5

 S.Bajaj

15hr28m20s

6

 Puneet Jain

16hr07m04s

7

 Abhishek Chaudhary

16hr13m47s

8

 Sanjiv Singh

16hr41m05s

9

 D.Ramarajan

16hr42m08s

10

 Harvinder Bhola

16hr50m32

11

 Guhan Shetty

17hr42m01s

12

 Sudhanshu Mishra

19hr09m40s

13

 N Smitha

19hr38m23s

14

 Arindamsaikia

20hr25m27s

15

 Himanshu Arora

20hr39m54s

16

 Aniruddha Rangnekar

20hr51m10s

17

 Amit Jhingan

21hr27m39s

18

 Ranjiv Sally

21hr42m39s

19

 Dharam Pal Jhangra

22hr01m08s

20

 Ashima Kaushik

22hr39m24s

21

 Jaideep Sethi

23hr26m52s

22

 Hav H Singh

23hr44m11s

Full Moto results:

Pos

Rider

Time

1

 CS Santosh

11hr19m28s

2

 Aravind KP

11hr28m06s

3

 R Nataraj

12hr25m30s

4

 Jes David

1hhr07m11s

5

 Tanveer Abdul Wahid

14hr36m11s

6

 Ashwini Kataria

14hr57m41s

7

 Rene Steinhart

15hr06m21s

8

 Rajveer Singh Tomar

15hr40m42s

9

 Virendra Waghela

15hr49m41s

10

 Ashish Raorane

15hr55m41s

11

 Mohan Lal Sharma

17hr49m01s

12

 Amardev Singh

18hr51m56s

13

 Anellois Christian

19hr14m43s

14

 Baljeet Singh

20hr55m25s

15

 Kurt Steinhart

22hr51m14s

16

 Rehan Khan

26hr38m19s

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About this article
Series Indian Rally
Event Desert Storm
Article type Leg report