Ulitmate Desert Challenge concludes, winners announced
Kabir Waraich and Gaurav Chiripal took top honours in the 2019 Ultimate Desert Challenge after three days of gruelling off-road action near Bikaner, Rajasthan.
The fifth edition of the event pitted some of the best off-road professional against each other in two categories, each with its own unique characteristics and scoring system.
The off-road segment tested the driver as well as their machines, with points awarded for successful completion of 12 stages - including a night stage in Naisar village. Penalties, such as for not adhering to the rules, also added another element to the picture.
The X-Cross challenge, on the other hand, brought wheel-to-wheel racing to off-roading, with competitors having to cover eight laps of a specially-designed 21 km track. The course was designed in a way to promote overtaking, with drivers having to muscle their way past rival for the top spot.
Following the conclusion of the event, Chandigarh’s Waraich (co-driver Amber Udasi) was declared winner in the off-road category for the third time in four years.
He scored 1090 out of a maximum of 1100 points in a Polaris RZR 1000, beating Gerrari Offroaders’ Gurmeet Virdi (co-driver Kunal Kashyap) by a wafer-thin margin of 40 points.
Waraich and Virdi have known each other for years, having both competed for Gerrari in other off-road events like Rainforest Challenge India.
“It’s a feeling that’s difficult to explain in words!,” Waraich said. “It’s a hat-trick of wins at the UDC and I couldn’t have been happier.
“This particular win did not come easy the competition was very tight and scheduling was such that we were continuously running back-to-stages.
“I was feeling sleep-deprived at times but somehow I kept pushing myself and good results followed.”
Behind the leading duo, Gagandeep Gill (co-driver Amardeep Godara) claimed the final spot on the podium with 894 points. Ritika Oberoi was the top female finisher in the event, accumulating 558 points.
Meanwhile, Chiripal (co-driver Karan Arya) took the X-Cross crown after clocking a time of 2hr43min8sec in a Polaris RZR 1000.
Devendra Singh Rathore finished nearly twenty minutes behind in a Mahindra Thar, while Vikas Tanwar was classified another 47 minutes adrift in a Maruti Suzuki Gypsy.
“The newly introduced X-Cross is an amazing concept,” Chiripal said. We as rallyists are always hunting new challenges and the X-Cross served us the same.
“In X-Cross it was all about planning forward for my stages and being strategic. I think that’s exactly what entitled me to be the winner.
“As they say that to win you first need to finish. So, I would like to add this for future participants that there are 3 things which can help you win- reliability of the car, your control over it and planning.”
Extreme E series unveils event format, 2021 launch date
Button to make off-road debut in Baja 1000