Desert Storm 2018: Aabhishek is the new king of Thar Desert

Aabhishek was confident of shining bright on a really hot day, as he had a 36-minute cushion, over his nearest rival Raj Singh Rathore (Sagar Mallappa), going into the final leg of the Desert Storm 2018.

Aabhishek (left) and his co-driver Venu Rameshkumar celebrate the moment after winning the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan on Friday.   -  Special Arrangement

After dominating the night stages, as never done before, Aabhishek Mishra (co-driver Venu Rameshkumar) kept the car cool, on the road, and brought it home, safe and secure, to emerge as the champion of the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm, here, on Friday.

Aabhishek was confident of shining bright on a really hot day, as he had a 36-minute cushion, over his nearest rival Raj Singh Rathore (Sagar Mallappa), going into the final leg. Obviously, he did not want to do anything silly, as he knew it was one of the shortest stage (25kms) of the event.

"It was the shortest, but not the easiest, as the pressure for any driver is only on the last day," said Aabhishek, after the victory. The champion pictured the route well, and with enough guidance, from his co-driver from Coimbatore, came out trumps in style. Both Aabhishek and Venu were determined to win this arduous event from the first day.

READ: Desert Storm 2018: Aabhishek & Venu on the right track

The early retirement of defending champion Suresh Rana (P.V.S. Murthy), of Team Maruti Suzuki Motorsport, after his Grand Vitara ran through technical issues, did take away some shine in the Xtreme category. However, after seeing the daring display of Aabhishek and the sound understanding that he had with his partner Venu, one gets the feeling that even if Rana had been around, Aabhishek would have still achieved his goal.

"Going into the stage today, one thing was very clear in our mind. We wanted to keep it easy, as the lead was good enough, and that we had to sustain it, and finish the stage. And, we stayed focussed and pushed hard, wherever we could for the win," said Aabhishek.

About his co-driver, he said that he has never had such an easy fast connection with a navigator. "But we both come from the same background — biking. I love to credit this win to him because he kept me going for the last six days. He was spot on with his calls and never missed anything, or got lost. If I deserve anything, he deserves much more." For Aabhishek, it is his third Desert Storm title. The last came in in 2015 and he looks hungry for more.

The results

Xtreme: 1. Aabhishek Mishra (Venu Rameshkumar) 11:15:54; 2. Rajat Singh Rathore (Sagar Mallappa) 11:50:36; 3. Niju Padia (Nirav Mehta) 12:35:40.

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