We are the Champions!
There are few in this world whose blood cannot be stirred by a simple tale of daring deeds. Take a deep look and change for good.
Diesels were always looked down upon in the extreme world of rallying. But at Mahindra, we had a different approach. The ‘Alternative Thinking’ – Super XUV5OO. A rally prepped XUV5OO, the first diesel Rally car to take on petrol sipping sedans and hatchbacks.
We arrived in the rallying scene with TSD rally/raid events like Raid De Himalaya, Desert Storm and Dakshin Dare. We won the podium in all the races, but was that enough? NO WAY. We decided to have some more fun by entering the extreme rallying in the country. Entered the Desert Storm Rally 2012 with two Super XUV5OOs. For handling such an extreme machine, we needed the country’s best driver-navigator combination behind the wheels of the Super XUV5OOs. So, we got Gaurav Gill & Musa Sheriff who were the winning duo of the Indian National Rally Championship and Lohitt Urs & PVS Murthy, the challengers of the INRC title.
On 21st Feb 2012, the Super XUV5OOs were flagged off amidst 46 petrol powered cars. And soon disaster struck! Getting badly stuck in deep sand, relegating Lohitt to 35th position and Gaurav almost out of contention. Then! The historic race began. The Super XUV5OOs pulverized the Desert storming past its competitors with a top speed of 174 kmph. By the end of Day 3 of the rally, the Super XUV5OO had managed to storm its way to 10th place. In a display of aggressive yet precise driving that took other by surprise. With an average speed of 98 kmph, highest ever for a 395 km Desert Storm Stage scoring 3 quickest stage victories. And finally on 25th Feb 2012, the Super XUV5OO climbed to the podium on its debut. It was not only remembered as the biggest comeback in the history of Indian Motorsport but also a modest first step by us into the world of extreme motorsports. And diesels wont be looked down upon ever in Indian motorsports. A true story of RISE.
This race cemented Mahindra Adventure firmly in the rallying circuit. Then we hit the Dakshin Dare rally with a 1-2 podium finish which made our presence stronger amongst the motorsport fraternity.
After sealing the podium finish at Mughal Rally 2012, we were all ready to up the ante. In 2013, FMSCI invited Mahindra Adventure rally team to participate in the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) to compete in the newly introduced Indian National SUV Rally Championship (INSUVRC) category. Gaurav Gill (with Musa Sherif as his navigator) piloting the Super XUV 5OO completely dominated the rally and was quicker than every other machine – all categories included. Team Mahindra Adventure emerged the champion of INSUVRC, 2013!
The 2014 rallying season began with a big bang for Mahindra Adventure! Sunny Sidhu piloted (with PVS Murthy as his navigator) the Super XUV5OO and emerged as the Desert Storm winner. The Super XUV5OO created history at the historic endurance rally by being the first diesel SUV to win the Desert Storm rally.
Mahindra Adventure has scooped up a new driver, ex INRC champion Amittrajit Ghosh along with navigator Ashwin Naik in 2014. With 3 Super XUV5OOs and with three best driver navigator combination in the country, the Super XUV5OOs won the Indian Rally Championship 2014 season.
With 3 Super XUV5OOs and the three best driver navigator combination in the country, the Super XUV5OOs won the Indian Rally Championship 2014. Having successfully defended the 2015 IRC season, the Mahindra Adventure Rally team won the Best Motorsport team of the year award by FMSCI. And now we are looking forward for a brand new rally season.
Hall of Fame
1. Mahindra Adventure won the Motorsport Team of the Year awarded by FMSCI
2. First time in the history of Indian Motorsports, a diesel car won an extreme rally with a debut Podium finish at the Desert Story Rally, 2012
3. Winner of Dakshin Rally, 2012
4. Podium finish at Mughal Rally, 2012
5. Podium 2nd and 3rd at Desert Storm Rally, 2013
6. Winner of Indian National Rally Championship, 2013 – SUV Category
7. Winner of Desert Storm, 2014
8. Becomes first diesel SUV to win the Indian Rally Championship, 2014
Our team of winners
At the age of 18, Gaurav was the youngest rallyist to have won the South India Rally 2000, his maiden rally. He was driving for team JK Tyres. He was runner-up in his first major break in 2003 at the National Road Racing Championship. The following year he notched up and finished first on the podium. Since then 32-year old Gaurav Gill has been on a speed track to becoming the finest rally champion India has churned out. The APRC 2016 Champion and multiple INRC Champion, Gaurav Gill is just unstoppable. What sets this driver apart is his involvement with the team that works on building his car. He understands the set-up of a car and therefore knows when to push and when not to. Over the years with the international exposure and having driven so many cars, the one change he spots in himself is his attitude towards the sport. According to him he uses aggression to his advantage. Everyone is looking to go faster. Someday somebody else will get faster than the champion. But, Gaurav has been increasing his pace with each rally to an extent where he'll have to keep setting his own speed limit.
Not many people have watched the champion as he goes about his job as closely as Musa Sherif. He has been Gaurav’s navigator for seven long years and has watched him mature as a rally driver. Musa thinks Gill has an amazing memory that helps him remember each turn on every stage. Musa should know, as he is a pioneer when it comes to stage rallying with pace notes.
Having started his racing career on tarmac Amittrajit Ghosh quickly won many accolades. He was the National champion in Formula Car Category and the Touring Car category in 2005 and 2007, respectively. The rally bug bit him in 2008 when he finished on podium and then reserved a seat with Red Rooster Performance driving a Mitsubishi Cedia. Despite entering the thrilling world of Rallying, he did go back to racing on the tarmac whenever he got a chance. Ghosh, however has his feet firmly glued in INRC as he races against time and his team mate and arch-rival Gaurav Gill in his Super XUV5OO.
Widely considered to be one of the finest navigators in the world of Indian Rallying, Ashwin started his career in 1995 on two wheels. He has won many trophies riding his motorcycle. Among the many notable achievements, Ashwin has so far participated in 175 rallies. From 2000 onwards Ashwin shifted to cars and since then has been a common sight on the podium for his navigating skills, not only in India, but internationally as well. Ashwin joined the Mahindra Adventure team in 2013 and has been co-driving Amittrajit for the last four years. The duo also finished second overall in 2016 INRC championship.