Malaysian driver Joo maintains RFC India lead

Costi (Goa), July 29 (IANS) Following his impressive performance in the Special Stages (SS) of Predator category, Malaysian driver Tan Eng Joo (co-driver Tan Choon Hong) maintained his lead and held on to the top spot in the Force Gurkha Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India after the six SS of Terminator category here on Wednesday.

Joo, who drove a Gurkha for team Force Motors, had snatched the top position from Chandigarh’s Gurmeet Virdi on Tuesday after completion of Predator SS. The Malaysian finished SS24 with 1,879 points.

Meanwhile, Joo’s compatriot and experienced driver Mervyn Lim (Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid), also from team Force Motors, held on to his same position, finishing second with 1,824 points.

Kabir Waraich (Yuvraj Tiwana) from team Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh, remained the top Indian in third, with 1,680 points, as he drove his Mahindra CJ3B on the muddy and rocky natural terrain.

Kabir’s compariot Gurmeet (Kirpal Tung), driving a Maruti Gypsy, who was leading the bunch in SS Prologue, surrendered his position to the Malaysians to go down to fourth on Tuesday.

But on Wednesday, local man Cedric Jordan da Silva (Floyd Preston) drove brilliantly to claim fourth spot from Gurmeet and push the Chandigarh driver down to fifth. Cedric, who also drove a Gypsy, jumped from sixth to fourth, finishing SS24 with 1,648 points.

The six Terminator SS, spread over Tuesday and Wednesday, were held in Costi village in Sanguem, south Goa.

Joo did well to get scores above 50 out of 100 in all SS with his best performances coming in SS23 and SS24.

Lim, secured the second spot with scores over 75 in all SS. He struck 90 points in SS19 and SS23 with his best performances coming in SS22 and SS24, where he gained full 100 points.

Kabir, remained the top Indian after completion of SS Terminator. He did well to get four scores above 90 in SS20, 22, 23, 24.

Da Silva, who had dropped a place to sixth after SS18, gained two places up on Wednesday after SS24. The Goan did well to get scores above 55 in all SS with his best performances coming in SS19 and SS20 where he scored 90 and 95 points.

After 12 SS of Prologue, six of Predator and six of Terminator, the cars now move for the thriller in Twilight zone which will be held in Sattari (Morlem) in north Goa on Thursday.

RFC is an off-road motorsport event where participating teams, each with a driver and co-driver, have to fight the rain, mud, steep slippery slopes, deep ruts, gullies, flooded rivers and landslides to earn maximum points for the win.

The teams have to compete in 26 SS which are divided into four sections — Prologue, Predator, Terminator and Twilight.

The lashing rain tends to alter paths and the competitors also have to deal with unpredictable erosion, fallen trees and other unexpected hurdles. This is the second season of the event.

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