Dominant Rana retains Desert Storm Rally title

In Rally Xplore, Sanjay Takale of Team Maruti zoomed to victory in his SX4. "The speed rush was a battle of nerves, and I finally topped the Rally Xplore challenge with a lead of 32 seconds," said the champion TSD rallyist. Satish Gopalkrishnan of Bangalore ranked second with a lead of 1.36 minutes over Rajesh Chalana, also of Team Maruti. Rally Xplore follows the TSD format in a separate route and two-wheel drive vehicles.

Jaipur's Raj Singh Rathore topped Xtreme Quad, driving his Polaris RZR 800 to victory with the fastest stage timings. "I am a desert man, and 'dune up' or 'dune down' in the Polaris was a game of joy," said Rathore, who scored the fastest stages of the event. Second in Xtreme Quad was Brandon Glissmeyer, also driving a Polaris RZR 800.

The 11th edition of this tough, challenging motorsport event had started on February 18, with 138 teams in the fray. These included 52 teams in Xtreme, 34 in Endure, 29 in Xplore, 29 in Moto and three in Quad. A total of 263 rallyists from all over the country and also abroad fighting for top honours in one of the most prestigious motorsport events of the country.

The rally traversed about 2,200 kilometers in the wild outback of Sardarshahar, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jaipur, where it ended on Saturday. The harsh, unforgiving desert terrain took a toll over man and machine, and by the end of the rally, there were only about 25 per cent competitors running in each category.

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