While the country was getting ready to watch another season of cricket matches, Suzuki’s racing team was celebrating their victory in the 2016 Desert Storm. CS Santosh has won the championship in the Moto Class, defending his title successfully. This is his third consecutive victory in Desert Storm.
Riding the Suzuki RMX 450Z, Santosh finished a total of 800 gruelling kilometers, spread over 5 days of rallying, ahead of TVS Racing’s Aravind KP. Santosh finished with a total time of 11 hours, 19 minutes and 28 seconds with Aravind trailing behind 9 minutes. The Suzuki rider, who is also a Red Bull athlete, is the only Indian to have taken part in Dakar and finished the race successfully. TVS Racing’s R Nataraj finished third.
The rally consisted of 13 individual stages of which 10 and 11 were night sessions and were not without drama. Santosh finished the 9th stage with a lead of 53 minutes. However, during the first night session Santosh failed to spot the passage control and forgot to stamp his time card. Because of this he was given a penalty of 60 minutes.
Here’s what CS Santosh had to say on the incidence:
“I made it difficult for myself. The time penalty for missing out on the passage control came at the most inopportune moment. However, that’s rallying, anything can happen. I am very pleased with this win and even more with the way the Suzuki RMX450Z Rally performed in these conditions.”
The rally edition Suzuki RMX 450Z carried special parts from the Dakar trip. This included a carbon fibre sub frame that also served as auxiliary fuel tank, a bigger cooling setup and Ohlins suspension. Suzuki had even flown in Jordi Grau, who runs Suzuki Spain Team in Dakar, for this Desert Storm.