Team Arunachal’s Lhakpa Tsering, Venu win Xtreme category at Rally Desert Storm

JAISALMER, May 11: Lhakpa Tsering and and co-driver Venu Rameshkumar from Team Arunachal emerged as the ultimate champions in the Xtreme category (cross-country rally for cars) in the T3 category at Rally Desert Storm 2019 with a cumulative time of 9 hours 21 minutes 45 seconds in the T1 category.
Niju Padia won the T2 u modified class. Aabhishek Mishra and Sreekanth Gowda from Team Sparkys won the T1 class.
With this win, Tsering from Team Arunachal, powered by Polaris India, ensured a historic first place podium for Arunachal in the T3 category.
The hotly contested Moto category (cross-country rally for motorbikes) at India’s longest motorsport rally was won by Adrian Metge of Team TVS Racing with a cumulative time of 6 hours 13 minutes 25 seconds.
In the Moto category, TVS Racing frontman Adrian Metge was closely followed by CS Santosh from Hero Motorsport Team Rally with cumulative timings of 6 hours 19 minutes 0 seconds.
Despite breathing fire down Metge’s neck in all the stages and besting him in several stages, CS couldn’t get past the time difference between the two that was created after the second day.
The third spot in the Moto category was claimed by TVS Racing’s Abdul Wahid Tanveer, who clocked a cumulative timing of 6 hours 35 minutes 28 seconds.
In the Ndure category, Ankur Chauhan was followed by Capt Abhilasha Singh (co-driver Aashish Agarwal) and Team Army Adventure Wing’s Aman Katoch (co-driver Siddhartha Nandal) at second and third position, respectively. The Ndure category results are evaluated on the basis of average rank after all five legs.
Mishra, Metge and Chauhan, alongside other podium finishers, category winners and special award winners, were felicitated at a glittering prize distribution ceremony held at the Jaisalmer Marriott Resorts & Spa here in Rajasthan.
The other key awards that were announced included the Team Trophy-Xtreme, which went to Team Army Adventure Wing, Team Trophy-Moto, which went to TVS Racing, and Team Trophy-Ndure, which was also won by Team Army Adventure Wing.
The Coupe des Dames (best female contender) award went to Khyati Mody in the Xtreme category, Aishwarya Pissay in the Moto category, and to Capt Abhilasha Singh in the Ndure category.
Tsering was elated after winning the T3 Xtreme category against what he touted as one of the best drivers’ line-up ever at Desert Storm.
“This win feels incredibly special due to the fact that we were competing against some of the top teams and best rally racers in the country and Asia. Cool headed perseverance and consistency in mind were keys to the win,” he said.
“Till the day of the 190 km marathon stage it was a nightmare for us. Fifty-plus degree heat in the cockpit of the rally car, with the soles of the shoes peeling off, and intercom failure got us stuck us in the treacherous sand traps and lose 18 minutes, which relegated us to the 10th position. The 190 km marathon stage was the game-changer where we upped the ante and, by the end of the day, put us on the 6th position.
“The next 3 legs in Jaisalmer were crucial as we went all-out to secure our lead,” Tsering said.
“With this win, I am hopeful that our state will get due recognition in the field of adventure sports,” he said. “With the active support of the state government in promoting the Arunachal Festival of Speed and the last two editions of the Indian National Rally Championship and Orange 4×4 Fury, we are sure that more sporting talents will emerge and bring laurels to the state and the NE region,” Tsering added.
Desert Storm was launched by Northern Motorsport, India’s premier motorsport club, way back in 2003.