Dona Paula: Malaysian driver Tan Eng Joo (co-driver Tan Choon Hong) from the Force Motors Team has won the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India 2015 with an overall score of 2163 points. Tan has won the week-long extremely tough competition after successfully completing 26 Special Stages (SS) and the Twilight Zone at the second edition of India’s only international off-road motorsport event.
Fellow Malaysian driver Mervyn Lim (Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid), also representing Force Motors, came second with 2095 points. Kabir Waraich and co-driver Yuvraj Tiwana from Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh, with 1941 points, emerged as the top Indians in the challenge in which 22 teams from across the country participated. Therefore, as per RFC India rules, they have secured an automatic and free entry in the RFC Mother Event that will be held in Malaysia in December. Interestingly, the top three spots this year are identical to last year’s results.
Chandigarh’s Gurmeet Virdi (Kirpal Tung), who was in the lead during the Prologue stages of RFC India 2015, was unable to hold on to the top spot and ended the competition at the fourth position with 1907 points. Goan driver Cedrick Jordan DaSilva (Floyd Preston) secured his place in the top five with 1881 points.
According to Kabir Waraich, “I am happy that we have secured a podium finish this year as well but am also a bit disappointed. We could have easily won the competition but that could not happen just because of our bad luck when the tyre of our vehicle came off in the middle of two SS which cost us some very crucial points. Anyway, the experience was awesome and now I am going to focus on preparing for RFC Malaysia.”
RFC India is the India Chapter of the Malaysian Rainforest Challenge, which is counted among the top ten toughest motor races in the world. The competition is divided into four competitive legs – the Prologue, the Predator, the Terminator and the Twilight Zone – wherein the competitors’ driving and vehicle recovery skills are tested under extreme off-road conditions through various tasks. RFC India follows a point system and the team with the maximum points at the end of the competition is announced as the winner.
The Twilight Zone is considered to be the toughest leg of the entire competition with none of the teams completing it at the inaugural RFC India last year. This year, 16 of the 17 teams that entered the Twilight Zone managed to finish the leg successfully and participated in the final two SS, worth 100 points each, which tilted the competition in favor of two of the Force Motors Teams.
Ashish Gupta, Founder & Director of Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd, the event organizers, said, “RFC India is the longest and among the toughest editions of the Rainforest Challenge. The fact that this year we had a very interesting line-up of competitors, with national level rallyists and seasoned off-roaders participating in the challenge, made the competition even more intense. For me, each and every competitor is a winner merely because they had the willpower to compete in such a tough event. I hope that in the coming years, we will see the off-road motorsport talent of the country making a mark in the global off-road motorsport arena. Therefore, we are thinking of launching a regional version of RFC India with the intent of scouting for the talent from across the country and bringing them to Goa for the RFC India Mother Event.”
The RFC India 2015 Team Trophy has been won by Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh while the ‘Team Spirit Award’ has been given to Bangalore Offroaders Development Association (BODA). Abinav Reddy and T Laxmikanth from Hyderabad’s Charminar Off-road Adventure Club bagged the ‘Jungleman Award’ while the ‘Most Unique 4X4’ Award went to Hyderabad’s Arun Parikshat and Rajsekhara Prabhu for their Nissan Jonga Diesel. Sameer Chunawala and Harkeerat Singh Sahi from Mumbai’s MS4X4 TKG bagged the ‘Environment Award’. A Special ‘Most Entertaining Competitor’ Award was given to Damaninder Singh from Northern India Offroad Club (NIOC) and Jaskirat Singh Nagra from Sarbloh Motors was given a Special Award in recognition of his efforts to bring Indian competitors’ vehicles to RFC International standards.