New Delhi - As many as 143 vehicles, including huge AMW trucks, 4-wheel drive SUVs, Gypsys, two-wheelers and Moto Quads will be participating in the week-long Desert Storm rally that will be flagged off here Monday.
Rated as one of the most challenging long distance rallies in the World, Desert Storm will conclude on Feb 25 in Ahmedabad after passing through Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Bhuj, covering about 3,500 kms.
While Mahindra has entered two of its hottest selling models, the XUV 500, to be driven by ace rallyists national champion Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) and Lohit Urs (PVS Murthy) in the Xtreme category, four spanking new AMW trucks will also be making their Storm debut, but in the Ndure-plus section.
The Xtreme category has attracted the highest number of entries, 48, that includes the likes of Gill and Urs, besides defending champion Sunny Sidhu (Rohit Michael) in a Grand Vitara.
Also in the fray are last yearâ€™s champions Sanjay Takale (Mohd Mustafa) in the Xplore class that will be run on TSD (time-speed-distance) format and Rajanna Nataraj of TVS Racing in Moto/Quad section.
As in the past, the Xtreme class will corner much of the attention given the rugged and extremely challenging terrain the vehicles would be negotiating.
In fact, the competitors in this class face a demanding opening day which will see them doing a transport run of some 300 Kms followed by a night stage that will commence after midnight.
The focus will be not so much on speed as driving and navigational skills since the competitors will be negotiating the tricky desert region in Rajasthan as also the treacherous run through the salt flats in Bhuj, Gujarat before heading Ahmedabad.
To top it all, the organisers, Northern Motorsports, have laid out a punishing 400 Kms of special stage run before the Xtreme vehicles head to the finish in Ahmeadabad.
"I am really looking forward to the Desert Storm as I have been working on this project for nearly a year," said Mysoreâ€™s Lohit Urs who put together the Mahindra team in a chat with IANS.
"We havenâ€™t had much time to make too many changes in the XUV apart from strengthening the suspension and the body work, but hopefully, we will improve on this next year," added Urs.