United Business announces Molly Taylor in the 2013 European Rally Championship

Molly Taylor - Australian Rally car driver
United Business announces Molly Taylor’s programme for the 2013 sports season. As per the “rumours” of the past weeks, the strong Australian lady driver, co-driven by Englishman Seb Marshall will compete in the European Rally Championship. Over the past weeks Pier Liberali, General Manager of United Business, the company which is in charge of Molly Taylor’s sports management since last year, was speaking of a possible international programme. Now the news is confirmed and Molly will effectively begin her adventure in the European Championship driving the Citroen DS3 R3T in two weeks’ time, in Portugal on the island of São Miguel, taking part in the 48th Sata Rallye Acores on April 25th-27th (also broadcast live on TV on Eurosport). She will then start in another seven European events and will also be present in the World Championship, where she will take part in the Rally d’Australia - World Rally Championship – in the WRC 3 class.

As expected, the car for the European Championship events will be supplied by BP Racing, the team which provided the car for the 2012 season to everybody’s satisfaction.

"In recent months we thoroughly analyzed all the opportunities before focusing on this programme - said Pier Liberali of United Business - I have been in constant contact with Molly and with Paolo Butelli of BP Racing, on both sides there was the desire to find the way we work together, it was logical and right to continue with BP Racing after the season achieved in 2012. Thanks to the  support of our advertising partners and institutions, we have managed to organize a programme that will allow her to drive a car that she knows well and supplied by a team that has always given us excellent cars. Molly’s determination was fundamental, and we are proud, as was the case in 2012, to have on the car’s livery the brands of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission (WMC) and of the Australian Motor Sport Foundation (AMSF). 2013 is another step forward in Molly’s sports career, it will be a very important season for her, despite being young (only 25 years old) she has experience, technique, determination and is very fast, in my opinion she is one of the fastest lady drivers in the world. Competing in the European Championship was a logical choice, although already very popular, by taking part in the 2013 FIA ERC, thanks to Eurosport, she will further increase her international visibility ".

Seb Marshal & Molly Taylor with their trophies
"I am very excited to take part in the European Championship - says Molly Taylor – being in Sata Rallye Acores will be a very good experience for me, as well as having the opportunity to compete in the other European Championship. It will be a very interesting challenge, I only know one event, Ypres, having done it last year, but the other races will all be new for me and in places where I have never competed. I am raring to go, with United Business and BP Racing our priority is to be consistently fast in every race which we will take part in and to try, why not, to win the "FIA ERC Ladies' Trophy".

With the pre-event test before Sata Rallye Acores, the Australian driver will resume confidence with the Citroen DS3 R3 which she has already driven last year. This test will serve to better prepare the crew for the race which will start on Thursday, April 25th, at 14:30 from the charming Gonçalo Velho square in Ponta Delgada (San Miguel Island - Azores - Portugal).

Racing Press -  United Rally Management s.r.l. | V.le delle Terme, 97 | 27052 Salice Terme/Godiasco (PV) ITALY | Tel.0383/944916 Fax 0383/934583 | http://www.unitedbusiness.it | http://www.unitedbusinessrallyteam.com
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Sebastien Loeb + Peugeot 208 T16 + Pikes Peak = Awesome Hill Climb Race - 2013

Sebastien Loeb - Nine-time World Rally Champion is all set to compete in this year's Pikes Peak Hill-Climb for Peugeot.

Loeb's FB page says, "It's now official, I will participate in the race side of Pikes Peak with a Peugeot 208 T16 and Red Bull. In the USA, one goal: victory! As always, you will be kept abreast of any of my preparation." Also disclosed that Loeb will drive a purpose-built 208 T16 Pikes Peak in the unlimited class. 

Being his first Pikes Peak that runs on June 30, although Peugeot has won it before, the then 405 T16 at the hands of legendary Ari Vatanen in 1988. Climb Dance film was released the following year celebrating its victory in the global event.

Maxime Picat, director general of Peugeot Automobiles, said; "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Citroen for this one-off 'loan' of its exceptional champion. Our objective is to win, so we needed to stack up as many cards as possible in our favour by joining forces with the very best partners for this unique project, namely Total, Red Bull, Michelin and Sebastien Loeb. Pikes Peak is a legendary race that has inspired all the brand's teams. It is also a tough, exceptional challenge which leaves no room for error."

The hill climb has 12.42-mile route up Pikes Peak featuring 156 corners with an ascent from 2,800 m to 4,300 metres. Originally being a all-gravel event, over the period of years it has seen constant up-gradation to  sealed surface [asphalt], and this year for the first time it is an all-asphalt surface from start to finish.

Rhys Millen set a new record for the climb in his Hyundai last time in 2012, crossing the finish line in 9m46.164s and that is what Loeb has to beat to claim his throne there.

And Loeb's career into racing will be started from this weekend, at Nogaro - FIA GT, behind the wheel of  McLaren MP4-12C GT3. We wish him the best of luck.
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INRC - 2013, Round - 1 | Team SLIDEWAYS INDUSTRIES to Debut VW POLO | Official Press Release - Team SI

Two 1.6 Polos to participate in 1600cc and JINRC classes

Pune, March 20, 2013: Pune-based rally team, Slideways Industries, is all set to debut the Volkswagen Polo 1.6 in the Indian National Rally Championship at the AVT Premium South India Rally in Chennai this weekend. The Polo is the first all-new car to debut in the INRC in over six years and the first hatchback in the rally championship in over a decade. And it comes with first class pedigree, the WRC-spec Polo having just won two of the last three rounds of the World Rally Championship.

Team Slideways Industries, backed by Pune-based Pinnacle Group, will enter two Polos in the South India Rally driven by Sirish Chandran (co-driver Nikhil Pai) in the 1600cc class and Rohan Pawar (co-driver Nitin Jacob) in the Junior INRC class. The cars have been built to FIA Group N regulations by Chettinad Sporting in Coimbatore under the guidance of Team Slideways Industries’ technical director Byram Godrej. The car is powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that develops over 110 horsepower thanks to revised ECU mapping and modified intake and exhaust and drives the front wheels via the standard five-speed gearbox. The only change permitted to the transmission as per regulations is the inclusion of a limited slip front differential. The suspension retains the standard layout and geometry but the dampers are high-spec three-way adjustable units made by renowned European manufacturers Ohlins and Reiger.

The team completed an extensive test session in Coimbatore last week to fine tune the suspension setup and check the reliability of the car. “Over two days we drove the Polo hard and fast and despite hitting everything we could find the car didn’t breakdown, which is a very encouraging sign for a car that hasn’t been rallied till now”, says Sirish Chandran. “Being able to survive such punishment is a testimony to how well built and incredibly tough the standard road-going Polo is.

The team also enlisted the help of seven-time national rally champion Naren Kumar to fine tune the suspension and at the end of the test session he declared himself happy with the performance and setup. “The suspension is very good, nearly as good as the N+ suspension we used to run on the Cedias”, says Naren.

Safety has been given utmost priority and the roll-cage has been designed to the highest international safety standards while also increasing the strength of the shell. “The Polo is an inherently tough car and the torsional rigidity of the shell is unbelievable, so much so that this is the first rally car I’ve worked on that doesn’t even need strut braces”, says Byram. “On the handling and reliability front the car is now sorted, what we need to work on is the engine but we will do that after the first rally in Chennai. Inherently the engine is very torquey and that will help us immensely in tight stages, particularly the hairpins where the Polo is sure to make up time over the other cars.

Under Group N regulations the gearbox ratios cannot be altered but the Polo’s shorter ratios will prove to be an asset, making up for its heavier body shell compared to other cars on the grid. Another big advantage the Polo has is its compact dimensions and hatchback body shell which makes it more nimble and chuckable.

“We are hugely excited to debut the Polo in the INRC”, says Rohan Pawar, team principal, Slideways Industries. “The car is fast, reliable and crucially exciting to watch. You can’t expect rally fans to come out and watch cars which have long since ceased production in India; they have nothing to relate to. With the Polo rally enthusiasts can now look forward to a contemporary car which looks great while being driven fast and I am sure it will be a game changer for the INRC, especially with the factory support of Volkswagen Motorsport.

Team Slideways Industries has received extensive support from Volkswagen Motorsport in terms of spares, technical know-how, performance parts and logistics support. VW Motorsport has in fact dispatched a truck-load of spares including a spare engine and gearboxes to the South India Rally to support not just Slideways Industries but any competitor who runs a Polo in the INRC.

The Polo runs on 195/60 R15 ZDM2 rally tyres made my MRF Tyres which have been developed not just in India but in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship where MRF Tyres won the title last year. The tyres are a big contributor to the performance and handling of the car, both on tarmac and gravel. The team will also run two Balenos, for Byram Godrej (co-driver Prajval Pai) and Aniruddha Rangnekar (co-driver Harrish Kumar) in the 1600 class. “We have concentrated our resources on running two Polo s' and making sure both are reliable; after all to win you have to first finish”, says Aniruddha who was instrumental in forming the team. “By round three we hope to have all four Polo s' ready and by the time we get to our home rally in Nashik I am sure the car will have made the headlines everywhere.

Slideways Industries is also proud to welcome Maui Jim as the official eye wear partner for the team. All the team drivers, co-drivers and technical personnel will be seen sporting Maui Jim eyewear throughout the season and fans following the team on its website www.SlidewaysIndustries.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SlidewaysIndustries) and Twitter (@SlidewaysInd) will stand to win exciting merchandise throughout the season.

IRC / INRC Calendar for 2013
Round 1: 22-24 March: MMSC Chennai (Gravel)
Round 2: 12-14 April: Northern Motorsports, Bhuj (Gravel)
Round 3: 17-19 May: Kolkata , RRPM (Gravel)
Round 4: 07-09 June: WISA, Nashik (Tarmac)
Round 5: 25-27 October:  K1000, KMSC Bangalore (Gravel)
Round 6: 29 Nov -01 Dec: MSCC, Chikmagalur (Gravel)

[ Pre-Event Press Release : Aniruddha Rangnekar, Press & Communications, Team SI ]
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Mahindra e2o finally up for grabs, rolled out from its Reva plant!

Mahindra finally launches the much anticipated electric-car named e2o from its plant at Reva Electric Car company, which Mahindra had acquired a few years ago. An all-new design of its elder sibling (NXR) was showcased in the recent Auto-Shows & was much talked about its good looks and elegant design of the overall car. 

Mahindra Reva, being the pioneer in electric vehicles in India, part of the USD 15.9 billion Mahindra Group, unveiled its all-electric, zero-emission ‘Mahindra e2o’ at a ceremony held at India Gate in New Delhi in the present on the occasion were Dr. Farooq Abdullah - Hon. Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Mr. Praful Patel - Hon. Minster, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises and Mrs. Sheila Dixit -Chief Minister of Delhi, together with Mr. Anand Mahindra - Chairman, Mahindra Group and Dr. Pawan Goenka - Chairman, Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Pvt. Ltd.

Mahindra e2o is  a manifestation of Mahindra’s vision of what it calls as ‘Future of Mobility’, which encompasses the ’5Cs’ framework of Clean, Convenient, Connected, Clever and Cost Effective vehicle technology. Which the company believes that it could well redesign the way people commute in this 21st century. The Mahindra e2o is slated to go on sale with immediate effect at select Mahindra dealerships, though across nationwide will be in a phased manner. The e2o is priced at Rs.5.96 lacs (on road Delhi, post state subsidy).

e2o, powered by next generation lithium-ion batteries and a 3 phase induction electric motor; the car is fully automatic and designed for city driving. It has a very small turning radius, that makes to drive with ease in the urban roads. It also features the unique hill-hold feature similar to the premium Mahindra cars, which frees you of any anxiety when driving up inclines. The specially made composite ABS body panels impregnated with the body color, make it dent and scratch resistant and is also environment friendly without any paint coatings right from the factory itself.

e2o has enough interior space to accommodate upto two adults with ample legroom in the front and 2 more at the rear, though the legroom is a very less. It has a driving range of 100 kms per charge, which is enough to satisfy the needs of the urban commuters that can be recharged fully in a short span of 5 hrs. To do it customers can now literally plug in their Mahindra e2o’s to charge, like they would their cell phones, laptops or tablets on to any 15A power socket available in any home. If that was not enough it has its REVive® technology that has regenerative braking feature, which pumps energy back into the car’s batteries and charges them every time you slow down or apply the brakes.

e2o features an intelligent Connected car technology, that has a unique synthesis of energy, mobility and connectivity, which has multiple industry leading firsts to its credit. It is the new intelligent brain of this car which provides a feature rich control interface for the vehicle, which can be made available on any smartphone device by downloading its application. This application then gives the customer the power to remotely manage several functions of the Mahindra e2o. Brillant!!

e2o comes with a 15.5 cm (6.2 in.) touch screen, with factory fitted GPS Navigation System, Radio, DVD, Bluetooth and I-pod connectivity with 4JBL speakers & 2 tweeters makes. Now locating a place for directions to the nearest charging point is at your finger tips. It also features a full digital cluster, electrically-operated ORVMs, Keyless Entry, Start/Stop button,  Projector head-lamps, LED tail-lamps, even a reversing-camera, that rich-ens the features-list of the Mahindra e2o, when compared to most high end cars.

e2o will be made available in six attractive colours – Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Eco Green, Oceanic White, Spanish Red and Sunfire Yellow.

Now coming to Key Safety Features, it has:
  • High strength steel space frame construction that cocoons the occupants
  • Colour impregnated, dent resistant polymer body panels
  • Batteries under seat, ensuring a low center of gravity
  • ISOFIX child seat mount with ALR seat belts
  • Hood designed for pedestrian impact safety
  • Adjustable head rests for all 4 seats
  • Large front crumple zone
  • Dual side impact beams
No Petrol, Gas, or any of those tail-pipe emitting and wallet poking fuels is going to haunt you. With all these features, it only needs one service per year, that too at your own doorstep by Mahindra's engineers.

If this is not enough for that mere Rs. 5.96 lacs, then what else?

[pictures courtesy, zigwheels and more..]

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AVT Premium South India Rally, 1st Round of INRC - 2013

The first round of the Indian National Rally Championship with its two more championships, each for the International participants and for the newly conceived SUV Championship was announced recently.

AVT Premium South India Rally [Chennai, India], the opening round of 2013 FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship is all set and ready to run from 22nd to 24th March 2013. The event organized by Madras Motor Sports Club, will be attracting all leading drivers and co-drivers from all over India and beyond borders will be fighting for top honours in the 2013 FMSCI National Rally Championships for their respective category/championships.
  1. Indian Rally Championship (IRC)
  2. Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) – Overall
  3. INRC 1600 Championship
  4. Junior INRC
  5. Indian SUV Rally Championship [newly formed]
The new season also set to welcome a new car [newly homologated for rally], debuting VW Polo 1.6 to set to take on the Indian rally stages. It is Team Slideways Industries, who will be fielding two VW Polo rally cars and two Suzuki Baleno rally cars on this opening round of INRC.

In the SUV category, Mahindra Motorsports will be fielding two Super XUV500, with Gaurav Gill & Sunny Siddu behind the wheels.

The AVT Premium South India Rally, the round 1 of the 7 round National Championship will have a total distance of around 300 kms, out of which 117 kms will be that of Special Stages, wherein speed is the criteria.

The Rally has three dirt stages viz. AAVISA (17.00 kms), the IVCRL, which is 11 kms and the third one around the Madras Motor Race Track in Sriperumbudur which is 9 kms.  All these stages are run three times each.

Manoj Dalal, the Clerk of the Course of the AVT Premium South India Rally said, “I welcome the competitors to the AVT Premium South India Rally.  We have taken note of competitor feedback from previous years and modified the course to make it more enjoyable and competitive. The SSS will be run on our high-speed race track. I’m sure the 2013 edition of this rally will be challenging and exciting for competitors and spectators”.

The rally action starts on Saturday, the 23rd March 2013, with the 1st car scheduled to be flagged off at 08:00 hrs, from the Madras Motor Race Track for the Super Special Stage, followed by the AAVISA stage, IVRCL Stage and the Track Stage.  The three special stages are repeated another time to end the Leg 1 rally on Saturday for an overnight Parc-Ferme at 16:54 hrs.
The Leg 2 starts on Sunday, the 24th March 2014 with the SSS and ends with one loop of the three special stages, followed by the Podium Ceremony @ 13:45 hrs, Post event scrutineering and posting of final official classification.

Competitors in the AVT Premium South India Rally will be battling it out on the course for their winning share of the total prize money of Rs  5.0 lakhs. 

The rally documents are available for download from www.fmsci.co.in

[Edit] Entry list can be found here, Page 1 & Page 2.

Here is a what happened at last time the rally was held in 2011.

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Ogier Wins - Rally Guanajuato, Mexico | WRC - 2013

Ogier after SS21
Final service at VW Motorsports
After a thrilling fight for the top three podium positions in the third round of WRC, Rally Mexico, Sebastien Ogier grabs the top step with a good 3m26.8s advantage.

The final day of rally ended with the last three stages, with the opening stage, SS21 [Guanajuatito], being the biggest of the entire rally of 54.85 km. Mikko Hirvonen in his Citroen DS3 WRC went on to set a blistering pace to win the stage and secure his second spot safe and secure off the charging Thierry Neuville with his Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Charging Mikko!
Ken Block around a corner..
After a final quick service, SS22 [Derramadero] the Power Stage - 21.14 km, was won by the rally leader himself and took the extra bonus points to his kitty account, that could count into vital at the end of the championship. Mads Ostberg, despite his best efforts managed a second fastest finish, satisfying himself with 2 points and the ill-fated Jari Matti-Latvala took the last single point for this round of this rally, and finished out of the normal point scoring top ten overall.

The final stage was a spectator special, with is double the distance of the what we had witnessed in the past two days.
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Ogier is Unbeatable | Day 3 - Rally Guanajuato, Mexico - 2013

Sebastien Ogier is virtually unbeatable with a gap of 3m32.4s ahead of second placed Mikko Hirvonen, unless the Frenchman encounters any problems with the car or alike.

Qatar M-Sport WRT's no.1 driver Mads Ostberg had to retire in the second stage yesterday after his Ford Fiesta RS WRC car alternator generated some issues, which eventually lead to engine failure. Thierry Neuville [like Mikko], encashed on Mads disappointing retirement and settled on third overall.

There was a shuffle-up in the lower point-scoring order too, Dani Sordo now sits in 4th, while Nasser Al-Attiyah moving up to 5th overall. Ken Block, Chris Atkinson, Guerra, Martin Prokop and Evgeny Novikov are the finishing top ten in descending order respectively.

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Day 1, 2 - Rally Guanajuato, Mexico | WRC - 2013

Opening leg 1 & 2 of Rally Guanajuato, Mexico went on well with the top 10 drivers without big drama. But it was the unlucky Latvala, who damaged his suspension's lower-wishbone after hitting a stone on the second leg of the rally.

By the end of Day 2, it is VW Polo R WRC driver Sebastien Ogier who leads the rally with a good 33 secs ahead of Qatar M-Sport WRT driver Mads Ostberg, and Mikko Hirvonen in his Citroen DS3 WRC who closed into the third overall.

Day 1, was short 2 tarmac stages around the Historic city of Guanajuato. Thierry Neuville in his Ford Fiesta M-Sport WRC and SS2 was enough for Sebastien Ogier to finish the day in his favour with his VW Polo R WRC car.

Day 2 - was the biggest challenge in the entire rally as it had 11 special stages to finish, all inclusive of the two short special stages and the city based ultra short stage in the account. With a total of 160.75 km over the SS's, and the surface from dusty gravel to cobble-stone-concrete-mix paved roads. Norwegian Mads Ostberg managed to drive up the leaderboard on SS4 & SS5, only to succumb later to pressure by the Frenchman. Later on, Ogier went from strength-to-strength to widen the gap to 33 secs by the end of Leg 2, to start ahead of the crowd on Day 3/Leg 3.

It was the local hero, Benito Guerra in the privateer seat of Citroen DS3 WRC, who was the obvious choice of the locals to cheer their home-grown talent in the top sport. He finished the day in overall 8th, ahead of the much experienced Martin Prokop [ Ford Fiesta RS WRC] and Australian driver Chris Atkinson in Khalid Al-Qassimi's Citroen DS3 WRC car.

Day 3 of the rally will begin in a short while, stay in touch with the rally from out Facebook page and Twitter feeds. Till then enjoy the video highlights of the rally here below.

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Round 3 of WRC | Rally Guanajuato, Mexico - is Next!!

Rally Mexico is just couple of days away, for the first round in 10 years with master Loeb. His younger compatriot and VW Polo R WRC driver is keen to win after his debut win with VW Motorsport, but surely seems hesitatant to reveal his inner feelings. It is also true that Ogier is not in any position to yield to any sort of early pressure, after that good margin he has from his full-time rally rivals. His new team-mate Jari Matti-Latvala was almost on the verge of taking the 3rd place last year, if not for that crazy high speed crash, after distracted Evgeny Novikov's crashed Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Citroen Racing's new No.1 driver Mikko Hirvonen is almost desperate in need of a top-most finish, if he wants to be in the race for the crown. But the question, is he sure enough with his drive in the Citroen DS3 WRC? If that was not enough, Chris Atkinson is back on Khalid Al-Qassimi's DS3 WRC, after he opted out of this round. Mads Ostberg is the new no.1 driver for the Fiesta RS WRC from the stable of the new-partnership enty, Qatar M-Sport WRT.

However the speculation is knit, all it matters is who crosses the finish line fastest, with least mistakes and penalties!

Citroen DS3 WRC - Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen
Both the Tyre suppliers for this rally have are said to have come up with a newly designed tread pattern and even better rubber compound, both in soft and hard spec, again for wet and dry conditions. 

The event was included as a part of the WRC programme from 2004 and this year is the 10th in running in the top level sport. Ceremonial start is held in the city of Guanajuato, a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Main highlight of this rally is the altitude factor kicking in a matter of few stages, making it not an easy feeling for both the men and their machines. And not to forget the unexpected boulder on the apex or on the drifting side of the stage sections.

Qatar M-Sport WRT - Recce cars
This year's rally rounds up with a total of 23 stages with a total of 397 km. It starts with the traditional Guanajuato Street stage for the opening Spectator Special, on Thursday evening for the spectators. The longest and fastest Guanajuato Stage will be a little bit longer this time to a max of 54.9 km. More documents related to rally for spectators can be found here.

Volkswagen Motorsport - Stable
An official document from the event organisers stated, “Every year, the organisers of Rally Guanajuato Mexico strive to incorporate more original and imaginative locations along its route to provide further thrills for drivers, teams, spectators, and the media alike, and take advantage of the endless array of bounties offered by the State of Guanajuato, and this year will be no exception.”

Although the format has undergone several tweaks, the rally is totally different from the [super-frozen] rallies seen early this year. This one is over rock-strewn roads, pitched with high ambient temperatures and varying altitudes that continues to challenge the WRC crews on their first visit to the American continent this season.

Pictures courtesy, Rally Mexico and Jose Aranda de Dios
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Petter Solberg gets his European RallyCross Championship Citroen DS3 Rally Car..

We all knew what Petter Solberg was up into Motorsport for 2013! European RallyCross Championship was his choice, had said the the Veteran [former WRC Champion] some time back. His choice of car too was announced and is finally ready to take it for a spin and a win!

PS: Still it is not clear of the livery that is going on to this new car of his, but we surely what we want is definitely nothing short of this as is pictured here.

Here is what he wanted to say of his new Citroen DS3 monster. We wish him all the very best for the new season!

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Q&A with Winners on 2 Wheels [Bikes] @ MS Desert Storm - 2013

Picture courtesy - Nitin Yadav

Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm - 2013, can be easily dubbed as a sub-Dakar in the Indian territory. Here the competitive endurance rally is held on the sand dunes of the never-ending Thar desert in the princely state of Rajasthan, India. For the mountainous part of the pro-Dakar we have the Raid-de-Himalaya that happens about 9-10 months later during October over one of the most dreaded gravel roads winding around the Mighty Himalayas peaks, and for that we have to wait a little longer.

Desert Storm is held during the late winter, as the desert is set best to race during time of the year with better weather conditions. With title sponsor being Maruti Suzuki, the rally is organised by Northern Motorsport, headed by Mr.Raj Kapoor, and  many more officials, plus a huge number of volunteers.

Vijay Parmar receiving his trophy, MS Desert Storm 2013
Vijay Parmar was the man to beat for the trailing lot on 2 wheels, who lead the rally until the last day. After losing vital minutes, he finished a mere 23 seconds down the leader. How the action unfolded, hear right from himself in the below Q's, to which he answered in the best way left us visualizing the narration.
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Q1 | Firstly, congratulations on your overall second place finish and first in Group-A. You were leading until the penultimate day, but looks like you lost precious time to the young rider, Mohit. What really happened in the last day and the days before to it?

VP |    Thanks for the wishes firstly. 

Picture courtesy - Nitin Yadav
    I led, to my great surprise, from the first day to the last, losing top spot to Mohit Verma by 23 seconds finally. The first day was incident free for me and I had a lead over the 2nd spot Virendra Waghela of almost 2 minutes. Mohit was almost 10 minutes in arrears on that leg. 

Leg 2 was to be the turning point for me on the Desert Storm. SS5 went impeccably right and I pulled out a further 2 minutes on Mohit taking the lead upto 11 minutes. SS6 the long sandy stage (95kms) was the one where I had my first serious fall. Powering through a left hander in the deep rutted sand the bikes rear wheel crossed over the central berm [created by passing of the cars], leaving the front wheel in the left rut and the rear in the right. The resulting highside threw me and I cracked my collarbone on landing. Riding the balance 65 kms was the toughest ride of my life. My right arm had lost its strength, the pain was unbearable and with the sand the deepest on the rally, lost about 5 minutes to Mohit on the stage. The X-Ray image taken at Jaisalmer confirmed the clavicle fracture and we thought the rally was over. However since we had completed the leg we decided to wait and see.

The team was keen that with painkillers I should try and start Leg 3 and see whether I could bear the pain and ride in order to complete the event. Leg 3 was started and with Voveran [pain-killer] shots being administered, I managed to complete the day without a fall and still managed to hold on to the lead by 3 minutes. The high point of this day was the dry-lake-bed run where I managed 161 kph for a constant 6 minutes.

Mr.Parmar tackling a water splash.
Leg 4 was where Mohit was confident of taking the lead. SS11 (Thar Xpress) was where he made his bid to go by. However the stage was fast and pain management good, so I actually made 15 seconds on Mohit. The next stage SS12 was the stage I had crashed on while doing Leg 2. The sand was now deeply rutted by the passage of cars and a nighmare for the bikes. My plan was simple, a fall would end my rally so I had to take it very easy. After 20 kms into the stage and on a left hander a branch of a tree smashed into my helmet catching the peak squarely. Snapped my head back and swept me clean off the bike. Fortunately the neck brace prevented damage but I still managed to land on my hurt arm.

Racing to the Finish, Vijay Parmar
After that the rest of Leg 4 was just pain and more pain. Surprisingly, I was still ahead of Mohit by 3.17 secs at the start of the final short stage. Now my luck ran out completely. Nearing the end of the stage, made the stage very tricky, resultant of over-night rain yesterday. In one instance I overshot a tight right hander, the bike corrected and I powered it through some bushes to regain my way back to the track and as I went through the bushes I found myself flying right over a freshly dug up well !!! The front wheel hit the opposite edge of the open well and somersaulted the bike, fortunately, over the well. I was thrown 10 ft away and landed again on my injured shoulder. The pain was unbearable at this point and I couldn't feel or move the arm for some time. A few moments later, with great pain & stress managed to bring the bike back on its wheels, restarted it and continued, unfortunately at the cost of the rally lead. I lost first spot by 23 seconds on the last 10 kms of a 2000 kms long rally.
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Q2 | We all know how tough the rally & rally-raid events are for the bikers. Especially for your age, how did you manage to top the rest of the field?

VP |    Experience, determination, the best bike on the rally - KTM 450 EXC 6 days- and the terrible realisation that most of the field could not ride competitively. Also I had the best navigation equipment aboard and never lost the way more than a few metres. Finally the best backup and service team in the entire event.
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Q3 | We recall in a picture of you getting a shot [of pain-killer?] during the event. For a 2,200km event, a fall here or there is almost inevitable, so did you encounter any fall and injury, or any such sort?

VP |    Several falls, the most telling are already documented above.
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Q4 | It was not the series Indian production bike that you rode, would you like to introduce us more about your ride, and how did you manage to procure, prepare and most important 'practice and where'?

VP |    The KTM 450 EXC is the is one of the worlds finest machines for this type of event. The bike was taken for practise to the really serious dunes in Jaisalmer for 3 days. It was far more capable than the rider. Modifications included a long range tank, extra lights and a fairing screen to deflect wind at high speeds. GPS and Tripy mounts completed the mods.
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Q5 | It wouldn't be right if we don't expose you as the chieftain of one of the world's most toughest rally-raid event, Raid-de-Himalaya! With such rich experience and passion towards the sport. It is not really a big surprise [for us atleast] that you were self-motivated or even better said, yearning to compete. How did your family and friends react to your decision?

VP |    My family has always supported my periodic insanity. Friends filled in and whenever I had any self doubt they brushed it aside. I had always commented that the biker standards were quite low and after this experience I stand vindicated. 
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Q6 | Any more planned/unplanned outings in the near future?

VP |    Expeditions yes. Competition No.
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Q7 | Coming to the organising challenges, how much do you rate on the improvement [to last year] and are you happy with it in DS'13?

VP |    DS 13 was well organised. They need to work out the ambulance evacuations using 4X4 ambulances every 20 kms.
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Q8 | With the expanding economy and the interests of the next-gen influenced by the developed countries, where do you think the sport will head? A new era of rally flavour or will it become more track oriented with the new F1 track?

VP |    Sport will collapse if sponsors are not forthcoming. Track will win over the course.
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Q9 | Don't you think we are running out of enough proper gravel roads [away from dense population] to conduct rally / raid events elsewhere and will have to stick to the desert or the uninhabitable, the great himalayas?

VP |    Yes our habitat is shrinking. We are constantly fighting for space.
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Q10 | What words of wisdom would you like to give out to the new generation motor-heads?

VP |    Get the best equipment. Commit time to practise. Safety comes first.
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Q11 | Is it an undeniable fact that the sport is not helping in tackling the dreaded air-pollution, if not the sound/noise part [which we all love to hear to the music]. Do you think the motorsport will head in the right direction [if not worse] in the coming days?

VP |    The sport has not even contributed 0.001 percentage towards air-pollution. Maruti makes more cars in a day than all the rally cars put together ! More noise is made by a thunderstorm than all the rally cars in India. So lets put stuff in perspective. More noise is emitted by the trains at New Delhi railway station in a day than all the rallies put together!
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Q12 | Coming to the Raid-de-himalaya, how are preparations going to be and anything new to see this year?

VP |    Still to start:-)
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    Thanks for taking your precious time Mr. Vijay Parmar and in replying to us patiently. You know what?! Cannot say about others, but atleast we are shying away with shame after learning about your age! Seriously!! And finally "We wish you all the best for your future endeavours"

Adding more...

Now for the top podium finisher!!

Mohit Verma was the eventual winner of the super-hot Desert Storm - 2013, Rally. This 23 year young rider from Chandigarh, India was not an easy to beat rider from the past couple of years. With his young age, it is his skill and courage that has put many experienced riders to think atleast many-times before even think of neglecting the young champ. He has already found a successful formula in some very tough events like Raid-de-Himalaya and the Mughal Rally.

Lets listen to him, though he has sought to only minimal words for the answer, it sure sounds enough too!

Q1 | Firstly congrats on your win in DS'13. We would like to know how tough was the event for the bikers and what preparations went in this year's Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm?

MV | Thanks for the wishes! For bikers, the event was really tough as it had long stages, with very loose sand especially after the cars went through before us. This is the very first time that I rode over sand. For this event I had done some practice-recce in Jaipur earlier.
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Q2 | Until the pen-ultimate day, it was Mr.Vijay Parmar leading the bikes, and how exactly did u manage to squeeze enough time to beat the veteran?

MV | Chasing Vijay Parmar Sir was fun. I started on 3rd, and on Day-2, I was in 2nd but the difference was 10 minutes. Then by the passing days, the gap came down to 3 mins. On the last day, I rode like crazy to cover the gap and finally succeeded in securing the top place on the podium.
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Q3 | What would you like to say about your latest bike [KTM Duke], which has given you a few successful outings in the recent event and which were your previous bikes? A few words of them would be nice too.

MV | KTMduke is best Indian machine I had until now. Engine is really powerful and has quick acceleration. We can actualy compete with older machines, but I love this new bike of mine. Its engine especially. Earlier I had unicorn wich had superb handling, then came the Hero Karizma that was the 2nd best bike.
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Q4 | What are the events that are in your 'to-do' list?

MV | Now myself and my team are looking forward to SJOBA, Mughal Rally, Dakshin Dare and the Raid-de-Himalaya.
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Q5 | Now after bagging multiple back-to-back top trophies, we would like to know what is your success formula?

MV | It comes with all hardwork and passion that makes me win. so I want to continue in the same track.
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Q6 | Any tips for the upcoming talents?

MV | My message for the newbies is to ride hard and ride safe. Do as much as practice as you can manage to.
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    Thank you for your time and reply Mr.Mohit. We wish you all the best for your future Rallies to come!

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4x4 not enough? Then try out the Merc 6x6!

For those who swear over off-road 4x4 vehicle, here is their next level. Presenting the Mercedes Benz G 63 AMG 6x6! It is said that this beast was originally designed for the Australian Militiary and is claimed virtually unstoppable on almost every terrain.

Unlike its army sibling, this one comes with full luxury features seating comfortably four only, but with carrier over the rear wheels to carry any hardware.

With the Handcrafted AMG 5.5L biturbo V-8 that outputs a thunderous 536 hp @ 5,250-5,750 rpm and 560 lb-ft of torque, this beast is no slouch! It does 0-100 kph in under 6 secs, and on the contrary is one big-fat-gas-guzzler, with 18 liters to move around 100 km. All this is rounded out by a 7-speed auto transmission.

With the power-train sitting over the wheels with a massive 460 mm of ground clearance, the vehicle measures in at 5875 mm long x 2111 mm wide x 2210 mm high.

If you want to own one, then you may have to wait till October this year when it will come on sale, but in limited numbers and truck load of cash to get one. But with it arises the more obvious question. Is this what the doctored ordered?

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