Fifth edition of the Ultimate Desert Challenge flagged-off in Rajasthan


100 competitors from across the country to compete from 1st to 3rd February in India’s only desert-based offroad motorsport competition

Bikaner, February 1st 2019:Putting an end to the long wait of the entire motorsport fraternity, the Ultimate Desert Challenge powered by Polaris, one of India’s toughest motorsport competitions, is back for what is expected to be a trail-blazing fifth season. To be held in different parts of the desert frontier of Bikaner from today till February 3rd, the popular motorsport competition is witnessing the participation of fifty teams this year, with contenders hailing from Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Haryana, amongst other states.

The Ultimate Desert Challenge (UDC) is a high-endurance desert offroading competition that aims to provide a neutral competitive platform for expert offroaders&rallyists as well as budding motorsport talents. The competition was first organised in 2014 by Dune Adventure Sports Club and has thereafter been a regular affair in Bikaner, Rajasthan. Despite being merely 4 editions old, UDC is one of the most-recognised Motorsport competitions in the country today, attracting a host of seasoned offroadersand rallyistsfrom all across the country.

The Ultimate Desert Challenge 2019 is divided into two parallel segments – the ‘UDC Offroad’ and ‘UDC X-Cross’. Through 12 Special Stages (SS), UDC Offroad will test the driving & vehicle recovery skills of the competitors in extreme desert. Points are awarded to competitors who successfully complete an SS and penalties are incurred for not starting or finishing an SS or for not adhering to the event rules & regulations. The team with the maximum points at the end of the 12 Special Stages will be announced as the overall winner of UDC Offroad.

ArvindBalan (President, Dune Adventure Sports Club) explained,This year’s Ultimate Desert Challenge is going to host all-desert stages, eliminating our traditional stages in the grit mines and the obstacle course in stadium. Keeping the safety concerns of participants in mind, we have added a zero car in all special stages of UDC Offroad to test & showcase their feasibility before the actual competition starts. We have always desired to grow motorsport beyond its male-centric image and we’re delighted to welcome 4 women-driven teams on board.

He further added, “We have witnessed a phenomenal show of motorsport talent in the four years of Ultimate Desert Challenge; looking at the line-up for this year’s competition I am certain that we have some really intense competition ahead of us this year as well. This record interest in Ultimate Desert Challenge proves our success in providing a top-of-the-line, safe, and enjoyable sporting experience to our competitors in all these years.

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UDC X-cross, India’s first ‘closed-circuit rallying’ contest, will require the competitors to run back-to-back laps for 180+ km over extreme sandy & gravel terrain. The X-Cross track has been specially designed after thorough reconnaissance to provide adequate space for competition vehicles to start in short interim and overtake each other in midst of the track. The course features designated Start and Stop Boxes, dedicated Media & Spectator stands, a Lap Count Control for tracking the number of laps undertaken by every individual competitor, and a Pit-Stop Service area for competitors who want to service their vehicle during the course of rallying.

Speaking about the newly-added X-cross segment, Balan said, “X-Cross is our attempt at making cross-country rallying more spectator-friendly. Multiple laps on one single track make it safer to monitor and easier to provide assistance in case of an untowardly incident; while maintaining the thrill of racing long distances. In near future we are looking forward to organising more such X-Cross rallies in the country.

Taruna Shekhawat (Assistant Director, Rajasthan Tourism) said that, “Rajasthan Tourism has always been a proud promoter of adventure tourism in the state and it gives me great joy to partner with the Ultimate Desert Challenge yet again. I am quite impressed by the superior show of offroading capabilities that these competitors have showcased at UDC in previous editions. I wish the best for all the participants at this year’s UDC; may the best team wins!

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Screening the competing vehicles for their adherence to UDC technical specifications, the vehicle scrutiny was held today at the Event HQ in Thar Exotica Resort, Bikaner. The contestants who successfully cleared the scrutiny proceeded for a ceremonial flag-off, held at the same location. The ceremonial flag off was followed by the Leg 1 of the UDC Offroad, that saw the participants going through three night stages in Shivbari area adjacent to the main city.

After Leg 1, the further set of the Special Stages will be held at Udat and Nal Villages in Kolayat area on 2nd February and in Jalwali village in Jamsar area on the morning of February 3rd. The X-Cross will be held in Mehrasar village in Jamsar area of later on the same day. The competition convoy will thereafter move back towards the Event HQ at to Suquerbag in Quepem, where the winners of UDC X-Cross and UDC Offroad will be awarded in a glittering prize distribution ceremony.

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