Gill ready for Desert Storm challenge

Updated: Feb 10, 2013, 18:14 PM IST

New Delhi: Top rallyist Gaurav Gill is determined to erase last year`s poor record at the Desert Storm rally when he challenges title-contender and defending champion Suresh Rana at upcoming event of the new season.

Gill is among top Asian drivers in World Rally rankings but had a forgettable result at the Desert Storm as he failed to finish the rally.

The Delhi-based driver said he is much stronger and better prepared for this year`s challenge in the wild outback of Rajasthan.

With international titles in Indonesia, Australia and the Rally of Japan, Gill has been one of the most successful names in rallying. He won the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare last year. But at the Desert Storm 2012, he was bogged down by the dunes of the Thar.

"I am really excited and am looking forward to the action. This is a six-day marathon cross-country event. The sand is challenging for the engine, and puts much load and pressure on the vehicle. The Desert Storm is longer and definitely a lot slower than what I do. But a battle is a battle, and I`m ready for it," said Gill.

Gill?s top competitor is Suresh Rana, who drives for Team Maruti. Rana, who hails from Manali, is a homegrown hero. He has won the Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya, one of the top ten toughest motorsport rallies of the world, a record eight times.

Gill said he was not worried much about Rana`s challenge.

"My team mates are going to be my major rivals and competitors," said Gill, who drives for Team Mahindra. His team-mates are Karamjit Singh of Malaysia, Lohit Urs of Bangalore and Sunny Sidhu of Chandigarh.

Gill will drive a Mahindra XUV 500 for the event this year, the same as last year.