Jaisalmer, April 7 (IANS) The India Baja 2017 is all set to roll with the ceremonial flag off ceremony held for the second edition of the cross-country on Friday evening in Jaisalmer.
It started with the technical and administrative checks of all the participating bikes and cars before the first stage of the rally on April 8.
This year the India Baja will have the distinction of bringing the prestigious Dakar label for the first time in the history of Indian motorsports.
The other key highlights of the day included a compulsory competitive briefing being done by the brand ambassador of India Baja 2017 and the inaugural edition champion C.S. Santosh, who explained to the participants the importance of safety in this form of motorsports.
Team TVS represented by Arvind K.P., Adrian Metge, Abdul Tanveer and T. Nataraj looked all pepped up to make sure that they make the best of this opportunity.
Arvind acknowledged the fact that there is tough competition. "We have a couple really good riders on the circuit with Adrian Metge being a really fast rider," he said.
He also pointed out that Joaquim Rodrigues of Hero Motosports Team Rally will also be tough competition "as he was amongst the top 15 at the Dakar Rally last season".
French rider Adrian Metge of TVS racing said," This is my first visit to India and I have come here to experience the culture. I would look to take this opportunity and qualify for Dakar 2018 but I look forward to a tough competition from my friend and teammate Arvind KP."
Portuguese rider Joaquim finished in a highly commendable 12th place in the overall classification in Dakar 2017.
This will be Hero MotoSports Team Rally's second rally raid on home soil. But for Joaquim, India Baja will mark his debut on the Indian rally scene.
"We finished the technical controls today and are now getting everything ready to start the race tomorrow. The team and I are very excited for this new experience in India and hope to achieve good results," he said.
The other notable riders in the fray include the likes of Sanjay Kumar and Satyaraj. Among the cars the focus will be on veteran cross-country rally driver Sunny Sidhu.
But he will have to deal with the challenge from the likes of Raj Singh Rathore, who has the natural advantage of driving in the desert, being a resident of the desert state.
The second edition of India Baja will enjoy the support of Essar Oil, which announced its partnership with Northern Motorsports as the official fuel partner of the event.
In its second year, the India Baja Rally, now a Dakar Challenge event, will test over 70 riders with sand, large dune crossings and extremely high temperatures over two days.