By registering his third win of this year, Manali lad Suresh Rana, better known as the motorsport champion of the hills, has yet again proved his mettle in this extreme motorsports category, by winning the the 14th edition of the coveted ‘Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm’ championship title trophy. Rana recorded this win with his champion navigator Ashwin Naik. The duo has also won the India Baja – 2016, recently.

Passionately pursuing a sport and ascending to number one position is a paradigm of abiding zeal, sheer grit and dogged determination. Steering his Grand Vitara with a skillful blending aggression and accuracy, Rana retained the number one slot to clinch the title of the 14th edition of the ‘Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm’ 2016.

Rana and Naik drove a Grand Vitara and were crowned champions in the X-Treme four wheeler (4W) category. The rally this year commenced from Delhi and while pasing from Hanumangarh, Bikaner and Jaiselmer culminated finally in Jodhpur.

This is Rana’s fourth title win. When asked about what had been more challenging this time around, Rana promptly replied with a smile writ large on his glowing face, “Undeniably, the stages were comparatively easier than those of the last editions, but the weather had in fact played spoil sport. The temperature was too high and indeed excruciating. Heat is never favourable, either for the machine or for the driver and navigator. But thankfully, we tried hard and our machine endured the heat and luck favoured us in accomplishing the chattered mission – to clinch the title.”

Rana’s navigator, Naik, has already participated in the round one of the Wales Stages rally 2016, held recently this year in Wales. Naik told The Sunday Guardian, “This edition of the Desert Storm had been a way more enduring and testing. Apart from this, the year 2016 has really been lucky for us as we registered the second win of the year. We are hopeful to do better still in the coming rallies. Right now, Rana and I are planning to part again for the enthralling Sajoba Rally 2016, to be held later.”

Cross-country marathon motorsport national champion Rana won the rally leaving behind a huge margin of more than 80 minutes. A four-time Raid de Himalaya winner, Rana minced no words about his and Ashwin’s amazing coordination, saying, “Steering through mountains or deserts and navigating through tricky and tortuous paths needs a lot of coordination and understanding between the driver and the navigator. A single miscommunication can cost you dearly.”

Echoing the same statement, Ashwin was quick to add, “I always give credit to our abiding chemistry and coordination as I am hard of conviction that we make the wonderful pair to handle a given situation. More important is to stay cool and composed inside the machine and come out without any mechanical misadventures in the racy machine. He strictly follows my navigation advisory with utmost caution and confidence, and that is what enhances our compatibility.”

Rana owed his victory to the team and his machine. He made a point in this regard, “It’s not at all my single-handed effort. It’s a team effort, which includes the quick-witted and cautious navigator, an efficient team, my mean machine and all associated with us, morally and otherwise.”


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