DESERT STORM | XTREME
What is the route of this year’s Rally Desert Storm?
The 2017 Storm will be run from the 28th January to the 4th of February 2017. You will be traveling sometime in the day and sometimes at night along an undisclosed route. The night halts are at Bikaner & Jaisalmer. The event ends at Jaisalmer with a grand prize distribution ceremony and a gala ball.
How do I enter the 15th Maruti Suzuki Rally Desert Storm 2017?
You need to download, print & fill the Entry Form, available for download from our website, www.desertstorm.in or collect it from our office.
The entry process is largely self explanatory and detailed notes are available which will further help you fill all the columns correctly and details all the attachments required. Submit the completed form with the required entry fees.
In case of any further clarifications you are welcome to visit our office.
How many persons are allowed in each car ?
There have to be a minimum of 2 persons in each car. For 3 or more crew per car the Entry Fee stands doubled. More than 4 crew per car are NOT permitted.
What does the entry fee include?
The entry fees include an opportunity for the crew to participate in the Maruti Suzuki Rally Desert Storm 2017 with
One set of Road Books, Route Maps.
An invitation for the driver and co-driver to the Prize Distribution function and Rally Ball.
Basic accommodation only for the Driver & Co Driver at the Night Halt for the leg that the start has been taken.
Can I use a GPS ?
Yes, In fact we would giving GPS tracks for some sections of the event and a lack of a GPS can be a great disadvantage. You are also free to use any kind of calculator, speed charts etc. Computers and Laptops are not advised as they constitute loose objects in the cabin and can cause injury in case of an accident.
Can I participate even if I do not have a Maruti vehicle?
Yes, the event is open to all cars of any make and model.
What happens if my car gets stuck in middle of nowhere?
We are there to look after you. We will help you get to the nearest repair point, but this will entail a delay and you will loose points or you might have to drop out. Stay with the car till the “sweep” official reaches you.
What is a “FMSCI” license and how do I get it?
FMSCI licence is issued by the national sporting authority i.e. Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India and certifies the holder to participate in any Motorsport activity. You require a regular drivers and entrant licence, the procedure is extremely easy.
Just download the form from our website or from www.fmsci.in.
Fill in the form; get your regular doctor to fill out the basic form.
Send the form with the fees to FMSCI or to us.
What is “Rally insurance”? Where do I get it?
A personal accident policy of at least Rs. 5 lacs and including hospitalization benefits which is extended to cover “HIGH RISK” Table-3. This can be provided by any insurance agent. It is important to note that NORMAL MOTOR POLICIES ISSUED IN INDIA DO NOT PROVIDE COVER FOR RALLYING. A special Rally Insurance can be taken with a payment of an additional fees from the company where your vehicle is already insured
I do not have a driving license / My driving license has expired?
Sorry, Complete valid documentation of the driver and the car is essential to participate.
How much driving will be I be expected to do in a day?
Anywhere from 8 to 18 hours covering 300 to 700 kms every day.
Will we be driving at “high speeds”?
No! At no point will you be required to exceed the legal speed limit.
What is the rally route like? Will we also go off road? Is there any chance of my car getting damaged?
A majority of the time you will be on National & State highways. Some off road sections have been included to test your skills and increase your enjoyment; however, these have been carefully selected to ensure that they are not excessively rough or dangerous
Who are my competitors?
Like minded – Adventure loving people like you from all walks of life. They love driving and adventure. An opportunity to make great friends.
Are there any special driving tips?
Please refer to our sand driving tips article.
What if any of my crew member falls ill?
Two specialized Life Saving Ambulances will be accompanying the entire rally. They will be assisted by 4~5 smaller ambulances along the route. All officials and the doctors are connected by wireless. So just find the nearest rally official and he will take over from there.
Will we drive at night also?
Night driving is very much part of the plan. Some days will start very early and some nights you will just keep driving.
Rally 101 | Fixed Penalties
This is first of what is planned to be a series which will attempt to explain, in layman terms, various aspects of Cross Country Rallying.
This particular post should ideally have been preceded by several others which would have explained the terminology and provided background information clarifying the relevance of this topic. Anyway, in the coming days as the background posts are updated, we will rearrange the topics in a better & clearer manner
RESTARTS / FIXED PENALTY
Cross Country events are long distance endurance events that require large commitments of time and money in preparation and participation. Sometimes a minor mistake or a small mechanical problem prevents a competitor from completing a portion of the event laying waste to the competitor’s effort & investment.
In Stage Rallies, this problem was addressed by what became to be called a “Super Rally” format. Under this these participants could continue to compete for subsequent day or leg prizes. Cross Country Rallies are usually run over several legs and have several Groups and Classes under which the participants are grouped. This made the Super Rally format impractical so a few years ago a new provision called “Fixed Penalty” or “Restarts” was incorporated by the FIA.
Article 20 of the 2016 FIA Cross Country General Prescriptions details the broad parameters of the provision. This has been adopted & incorporated by all the Cross Country Championship events and the Dakar, each of whom have further detailed the process as is applicable to each of them. The articles are reproduced at the end of this post for further reference.
Of the two cross country events currently being organized by Northern Motorsport, fixed penalty does not apply in the “India Baja” as it is a single continuous day & night event. However, the relief is available in the “Desert Storm” and is detailed under Article 23.10 of the 2017 Supplementary Regulations.
The key salient points of this provision are:
- Any competitor failing to complete a leg of the rally (i.e. failure to report at the TC at the finish of a day within the closing time) will be given a fixed penalty of 60 minutes & designated as a ‘DNF’ (Did Not Finish)
This clause determines who is or is not a regular finisher. A participant is by default designated as a DNF until he/she applies for a Restart for the next leg.
- It is compulsory for a competitor to take the start of each day.
This means that no competitor can skip the next consequent leg /day
- No competitor may take a benefit of this rule more than once in the entire event.
This restricts the number of restarts available to a competitor. The logic is that one mistake can be forgiven but a badly prepared competitor who repeatedly breaks down is a hazard to himself and the rest of the competitors.
This provision is sometimes relaxed by the Clerk of the Course in consultation with the Stewards on a case to case basis depending on unique situations. Usually in these cases the competitor is required to undertake that he/she would not be entitled for any prizes and is continuing participation purely to gain experience
- Any competitor failing to complete a section of the rally (i.e. failure to report at the TC at the start or finish of a stage within the control closing time) will be given a penalty calculated by adding the following:
i. 30 minutes for each Start of Stage Time Control
ii. 15 Minutes each for all other controls.
iii. Scratch time (25.19 c) authorized for the Selective Section(s) or Road Section(s) not covered + 15 minutes.
This details the penalties which will be applied in case of a Restart. The CCR recommends a flat penalty of 100 hours and the Dakar has added Maximum Time for each section to the Fixed Penalty.
In all cases, the penalty for not completing a section is meant to be severe enough to differentiate between competitors who have actually completed a Leg and those that could not.
As specified in the CCR regulations, all competitors with no restarts must be classified ahead of any restarted competitor. However, if despite the penalties imposed if a competitor does manage to classify for a podium award then there is no provision debarring the organizer from awarding the prize. This can sometimes happen when there are so few competitors left in the fray that a competitor who has suffered a drop out still ranks in the podium list.
Extract from the 2016 Cross Country Rallies General Prescriptions
Article 20. FIXED PENALTY
20.1 A fixed penalty is used to enable a competitor to remain in the competition when they would otherwise be excluded due to failing to visit certain controls or report within the time limits imposed.
20.2 Any competitor failing to complete a leg of the rally as required by the regulations (i.e. failure to report at the TCs at the start or finish of a day within their opening times, or failure to complete a selective section within the maximum time allowed) will be given a fixed penalty of “one leg”.
20.3 For the purposes of establishing a classification all competitors with zero day penalties will be classified ahead of those with one day penalties who will in turn be classified ahead of those with two day penalties and so on.
- 1st Car A 0 legs 14h 37m 46s
- 2nd Car B 0 legs 14h 55m 33s
- 3rd Car C 0 legs 16h 21m 56s
- 4th Car D 0 legs 21h 33m 21s
- 5th Car E 1 leg 15h 35m 45s
- 6th Car F 2 legs 12h 34m 44s
20.4 To facilitate the use of existing results software, an organizer may substitute a penalty of 100 hours for the Leg.
20.5 In no case may a fixed penalty be used by a competitor who has been excluded by the Stewards.
20.6 To be classified a competitor must not have received a fixed penalty on more than 50% of the legs of a rally. A fixed penalty will not be applied on the final day of an event.
20.7 The use of the fixed penalty is optional in Bajas where organizers may instead use maximum selective section penalties. A maximum selective section penalty must be at least the double of the maximum time allowed for the same selective section.
Extract from the 2016 Dakar Regulations
Article 36P4: MAXIMUM TIME / TARGET TIME
- Road Section A target time is given for each Road Section. Any difference in this target time will incur a penalty of one minute per minute. Clocking in ahead of time is authorized at the Time Control at the Finish of a Road Section at the entrance of the Bivouac.
- Selective Sections Selective Sections will be run in real time, with a maximum time allowed. Crews checking-in after this maximum time will incur the Fixed Penalty for the day. The time that will be held in this case will be the real time done in the Selective Section plus the Fixed Penalty. If the Finish of the Selective Section is also the finish of the Stage, the procedures laid down in Article 36P5 will apply. The arrival time will be taken no more than to the second.
And further detailed in Article 20
29) Fixed Penalty
a) A Fixed Penalty has been created to replace certain sanctions leading to Disqualification for failing to respect certain clauses of the Regulations. It allows the penalised Competitor to continue the Event in normal competition conditions, still being sanctioned.
b) The Fixed Penalty is expressed in a time which is added to the penalties already incurred by the Competitor.
c) The Fixed Penalty may be of a different figure for each Selective Section, Road Section or Passage Control, calculated according to the profile and the difficulty of each of these.
Sand Driving Tips
Momentum is the key : The fundamental rule of driving on sand is to conserve your momentum. Since traction is at a premium, any increase in speed can be difficult, if not impossible, and you do not want to lose any momentum, as you may not be able to regain it.
The first thing to do before driving on sand is to lower your tire pressures. This is done to provide better flotation by increasing the size of your “footprint” and thus dramatically improving your traction. It also reduces the amount of strain on your vehicle and minimizes wear and tear on the tracks.
The optimum tire pressure depends on your vehicle, the type of tires fitted and the terrain. The following technique provides a good starting point to find the optimum pressure and is best performed before leaving the bitumen.
Park your loaded vehicle on a level surface and place a brick 1 cm away from the sidewall of your rear tire. Deflate that tire until the sidewall just touches the brick and then measure the tire pressure. Use this pressure as your starting point when initially lowering your tire pressure for sand driving. As you become more familiar with sand driving, you con alter this pressure as the terrain dictates.
If you haven’t performed the above technique before you reach the sand, don’t fret. A good rule of thumb is to use a pressure of 15 psi.
Remember : if you are going to lower your tire pressures, ensure you have a pressure gauge and some means of pumping your tires back up.
As you lower tire pressure, the tire becomes more vulnerable to damage by stoking the sidewall or rolling the tire off the rim. The lower the pressure, the higher the risk. However the gain in traction can be remarkable and may make the difference between becoming hopelessly bogged or simply driving away. The “correct” tire pressure becomes a decision between better traction versus increased risk of tire damage.
In severe cases of bogging, tire pressure can be lowered to a minimum of 40 kPa (6psi), as most tires require at least 6psi to remain seated on the rim while stationary. In almost all situations 10psi should be used as the minimum pressure as 6psi is likely to result in tire damage ie. tires rolled off rims or punctured sidewalls. Speeds should be severely restricted at these low pressures. To minimize tire damage, it is important that these low pressures are only used on sand and tire pressures should be increased if limestone or rocky outcrops are encountered, or when the terrain becomes more firm. Failure to do so will almost certainly result in tire or rim damage.
Sand Driving Techniques
When traveling on sand, you should endeavor to follow in the tire tracks of the vehicle in front as they have already compressed the sand to form a firmer surface than un-traversed ground. Never drive on vegetation as this will destroy it and lead to erosion and environmental damage.
You should avoid rapid changes in speed when accelerating or braking. Braking on sand will cause a mound to build up in front of all wheels and possibly prevent your vehicle from taking off. Rapid acceleration simply digs the wheels in and can actually lead to slower take-off speeds.
Take-off should be performed as smoothly as possible with gear changes done at fairly high revs. Sand driving requires plenty of engine power to get your vehicle “planing” on the sand. It is advisable to use low range as this multiplies the amount of engine torque available and will provide that extra gear if you encounter a particularly soft patch of sand. Check that your tires are pointing straight ahead when taking off to reduce the takeoff effort required.
When stopping on sand, depress the clutch and allow the vehicle to coast to a stop. This will minimize any sand build-up in front of the wheels. If the terrain permits, coast to a stop, rather than braking, with the vehicle pointing downhill as this will aid take-off. Avoid the soft sand at the base of most dunes and gullies when stopping.
When turning, make the turn as wide as possible to reduce the chance of bogging. Your front wheels act more like a rudder in sand and turning too sharp has a similar effect to applying the brakes.
Steep sand dunes can be traversed only straight up or down. If you drive even on a slight angle, the weight transfer is to the downhill side wheels. If the vehicle starts to slip, the downhill wheels tend to dig in and make the angle of the dune even worse, leading to a potential rollover.
If you are traveling straight down a steep dune and the back end starts to slip sideways, it is best to accelerate slightly to try and straighten the vehicle. Never use the brake, as this will cause weight transfer to the front wheels and can increase the back end movement.
If traveling up a dune and you do not get to the top, reverse down the dune in gear, NEVER coast down the dune and NEVER attempt a U turn.
Vehicle Recovery in Sand
As soon as you become bogged, avoid the temptation to simply floor the accelerator as this will just make vehicle recovery more difficult. Put the vehicle in reverse and gently try to back along your tracks as they provide a compacted path. When you have reversed a sufficient distance, try going forward again while being careful not dig yourself in. Hopefully you will travel further each time you repeat this technique and eventually be able to slowly pass through a particularly soft section.
If you cannot reverse out of trouble, get out of the vehicle and let your tires down further. A rule of thumb is to drop them by a further 12 psi. Before trying to reverse out, remove the build-up of sand from behind the tires. See if any part of the underside is touching. If it is, clear the sand away to allow the vehicle to reverse out. You may need to try this several times.
If necessary, continue to drop the tire pressures to 10 psi. Also, never underestimate the assistance of your passengers giving a push. As mentioned earlier, tires can be lowered to 6psi in extreme cases, but this should be avoided if other means of vehicle recovery are available.
If you are still stuck and your tires are down to the minimum pressure, you will have to resort to a snatch strap, winching or jacking to extricate yourself. The easiest method is usually by snatch strap, but this relies on another vehicle being present. If you are by yourself you will have to resort to winching (if you have one!) or jacking.
- Maintain Momentum
- Drive smoothly : Avoid sudden acceleration & braking
- Lower tire pressures to greatly improve traction and reduce track erosion
- Ensure wheels are pointing straight ahead when taking off
- Avoid the soft sand at the base of dunes and gullies
- Make turns as wide as possible
- ONLY travel straight up or down dunes
- Follow in others tire tracks to drive on compressed ground
- Avoid braking by coasting to a stop
- Do not floor the accelerator if you are bogging down
- When bogged, try to reverse on your own tracks
Storm Preparation Tips
What do you expect from storm?
We can not reveal all at this point of time but we can share hindsight with you to help you prepare for the unexpected.
First and foremost is the traditional motto of Storm : “Sweat and grind during the day and luxury and relaxation after sundown.” The participants are put through tough sandy and barren sections with challenges thrown at them at virtually every turn. Unexpected dunes and rocky terrain are all mixed with thorn scrub and greenery around oasis. Then after a full day’s grind come the rest halts at majestic and imposing heritage properties unique to the Indian Thar Desert. Luxury accommodations that are famous for pampering their guests. Inviting pools of water and chilled drinks with sumptuous food spread. This will continue to be the theme.
Secondly the last few Storms have broken that hospitality and relaxation tradition a tiny-weeny bit by introducing killing night sections. These are looked at with dread by the veteran rallyists. Post the event once the panic has subsided, the response was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping this in the schedule. So expect more night runs this year.
Thirdly we are going to increase the “endurance” challenge by clubbing already long sections in to one or two huge stages per day. Choice of speed versus safety is entirely up to participants but just be forewarned. The long section do come interspersed with “speed zones” where you are restricted to low speeds while passing through villages and hamlets. The longest stage this year is going to be in the region of 300 kilometers…… something very few current ralliest have experienced.
Fourth element that will test you utmost would be increased stress on “dead on” navigation. Especially when you are running in near proximity and parallel to the borders of the country, on a trackless expanse of Great Thar Desert, you’d better not stray in the wrong direction!
Fifth suggestion would be to prepare your self physically and mentally to cope with increased length of the event. The length would increase both in number of days & nights run and distance to be run.
Sixth be prepared to wade into deep sand & push, pull and cajole your reluctant beast. The gloves are off this year and expect deep sand and huge dunes.
That said, at end of the day it is man and his machine which are put to real test. In the past we had people off the competition as the had run out of fuel, had radiators boiled over, had more than one puncture, had a dead battery, had a blown gasket, had…………
The list is varied and endless but the common theme – they were not prepared.
In the calm before the Storm , prepare for the worst.
|Cars: Groups | T1(2wd & 4wd) | T2 | T3|
|Early Entry||1000 hrs: (15th Nov – 5th Dec ’16)||: INR 55,000/|
|Standard Entry||1000 hrs: ( 6th Dec – 5th Jan ’17)||: INR 65,000/|
|Late Entry||1000 hrs: ( 6th Jan – 20th Jan ’17)||: INR 75,000/|
|Very Late Entry||1000 hrs: ( 21st Jan – 26th Jan ’17)||: INR 95,000/|
|Trucks: Groups T4|
|Early Entry||1000 hrs: (15th Nov – 5th Dec ’16)||: INR 60,000/|
|Standard Entry||1000 hrs: ( 6th Dec – 5th Jan ’17)||: INR 70,000/|
|Late Entry||1000 hrs: ( 6th Jan – 20th Jan ’17)||: INR 80,000/|
|Very Late Entry||1000 hrs: ( 21st Jan – 26th Jan ’17)||: INR 1,00,000/|
Party Name Northern Motorsport