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The Indian edition of the Rainforest Challenge recently concluded on 28th July 2018. The week-long extreme off-roading competition started on the 21st of July 2018.
Jagat Nanjappa (with co-driver Chetan Changappa) from Coorg's V5 Offroaders Team won the Rainforest Challenge India 2018. The second place was secured by Malaysian driver Mervyn Lim (with co-driver Alex Tan) of Team G.O.A Fairmont, while Gurmeet Virdi (with co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung) of Gerrari Offroaders finished in third place.
The winners, V5 Offroaders managed to secure 2006 points out of the total 2600. The first and second runner-ups, representing G.O.A Fairmont and Gerrari Offroaders secured 1849 and 1800 points, respectively.
Jagat Nanjappa and co-driver Chetan Changappa will now go on to represent the country at the 2018 Rainforest Challenge in Malaysia. The winning team, V5 Offroaders received 10,000 US Dollars (the equivalent of Rs 6.70 lakh), along with a free entry into the Global Series Grand Finale.
Jagat Nanjappa has now added the Rainforest Challenge India, to his long list of achievements spanning over four decades.
Over the years, Jagat Nanjappa has won the National Rally Riders Championships nine times between 1986 to 1996. He also won the Great Desert Rally Championship in 1988, Coimbatore Rally Championship in 1992 and the MASA Rally Championship in Mumbai in 1993 and 1994.
The first four days of the competition saw teams completing SS1 to SS9. Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal, from Team Gerrari Offroaders, managed to maintain the lead from day one.
Dhaliwal (with co-driver Gurupartap Singh Sandhu) from Chandigarh, secured 687 points. While Jagat Nanjappa (with co-driver Chetan Changappa) from Team V5 Offroaders held on to the second position. The third spot was claimed by Malaysian driver Mervyn Lim (with co-driver Alex Tan) representing Team G.O.A Fairmont, after making up eleven spots within the first few days.
However, day 4 (25th July) saw Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal slip to the third position, due to a few DNFs in certain Special Stages (SS). This allowed RFC veteran, Jagat Nanjappa and co-driver Chetan Changappa, take the lead in the competition.
Last year's winner, Gurmeet Virdi (with co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung) representing Gerrari Offroaders, also moved to second place in the points table after having a slow start.
Day 4 was also the toughest and longest part of the competition. With a single day comprising of seven Special Stages, from SS10 to SS17. The first few stages, SS10 to SS13 were held during the day, while the remaining being night stages.
The night stages, SS14 to SS17 were even harder, as competitors had to be extra vigilant due to the limited visibility. The teams also had to make sure they don't damage their cars, while also attracting the least number of penalties.
Day 5 saw competitors, take on SS18 to SS21. Jagat Nanjappa with co-driver Chetan Changappa of V5 Offroaders managed to maintain the lead. The team tallied a score of 1641 points of the total 2600, by the end of the day.
Gurmeet Virdi of Gerrari Offroaders also managed to maintain their position at second place, with 1490 points. However, Team G.O.A Fairmont with Malaysian driver Mervyn Lim (co-driver Alex Tan) took the third spot. They managed to tally a total of 1411 points.
The last two day of the competition, saw Jagat Nanjappa maintain his lead. The last few stages, SS22 to SS25 was held in Maina, through dense forest and tricky terrain. With the last stage, SS26 being held in Dauna Paula.
About Rainforest Challenge
The Rainforest Challenge India is organised by Cougar Motorsports. The event was first started in 2014 and is currently in its fifth edition. This year, RFC India saw a total of 41 teams participating in the event, including an all-women team. The 2018 edition also witnessed the participation of a team from Northeast India for the first time.
This year the RFC India comprised of ten teams from Kerala, seven teams from Telangana, four teams each from Karnataka and Maharashtra, three teams each from Chandigarh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh and Delhi, along with one team from Haryana.
Each team comprises of a driver and a co-driver. The week-long off-roading competition will see teams competing against each other in 26 Special Stages (SS), each tougher than the previous. The team with the maximum number of points at the end of the event will win a cash price of Rs 6.70 lakh (10,000 US Dollars). The winning team will also get a free entry (worth 3,900 US Dollars) into the main ‘Rainforest Challenge Mother Event' held in Malaysia at the end of the year.
Thoughts On The Rainforest Challenge India 2018
The Rainforest Challenge happens every year and is one of the most extreme off-roading competitions in the country. The winners of the competition get a chance to represent the country at the Global Series Finale held in Malaysia at the end of the year.
Cougar Motorsports, organisers of the Indian edition, have stated that they also plan on introducing, the 'Rainforest Trophy' in India, later this year. This new event will begin from October this year and will be held in Arunachal Pradesh. The Rainforest Trophy will be an adventure expedition, rather than a competition like RFC.
Image Courtesy: RFC India FB Page