Malaysian driver Tan Eng Joo wins RFC India title

Morlem (Goa), July 31 (IANS) Malaysian driver Tan Eng Joo (co-driver Tan Choon Hong) clinched the Force Gurkha Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India title, while Kabir Waraich (Yuvraj Tiwana) finished as the highest ranked Indian in third position here on Friday.

With the win, Joo bagged two back-to-back RFC India titles. He had earlier won the inaugural RFC India title in 2014.

At the end of the seven-day off-road motorsport event, Joo, in his Force Gurkha, accumulated a total of 2,163 points to beat compatriot Mervyn Lim (Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid), who finished at 2,095.

Joo had earlier snatched the top position from Chandigarh’s Gurmeet Virdi after completion of Special Stages (SS) of Predator category. He maintained his top spot after the SS Terminator. On Friday, he finished Twilight SS 25-26 at the top and thus win the title.

Waraich from team Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh, remained the top Indian in third position, with 1,941 points. Driving a Mahindra CJ3B he finished on the same spot he earlier did in the first season in 2014.

Waraich was the most consistent performer among the Indians, remaining in top-four in all the stages of the event. By earning a podium finish, importantly, being the top Indian, Waraich will get an automatic entry into the prestigious RFC Malaysia to be held in November.

Kabir’s compariot Gurmeet Vidri (co-driver Kirpal Tung), driving a Maruti Gypsy, who was leading the bunch in SS Prologue, surrendered his position to the Malaysians to finish fourth. He failed to put up a similar show he did in the first stage but somehow managed to finish among top four with 1,907 points.

Local man Cedric Jordan da Silva (Floyd Preston) who drove brilliantly to claim fourth spot from Vidri after the Terminator SS, failed to hold onto the spot after completion of SS Twilight. Cedric, who also drove a Gypsy, finished fifth, with 1,881 points.

After 12 SS of Prologue, six of Predator and six of Terminator, the cars on Thursday had to undergo a thriller in Twilight zone which was held in Morlem in north Goa.

The cars with a driver and a co-driver had to climb the hills amidst the dense forests. They had to fight the heavy rains, mud, steep slippery slopes, deep ruts to complete the Twilight zone.

On Friday morning, the drivers competed for the last two stages Twilight SS 25-26 from where the winner was declared.

The seven-day event was divided into four stages — Prologue, Predator, Terminator and Twilight — comprising a total of 26 SS. The courses were designed in such a manner that the difficulty level increased as the challenge progressed, testing the driving, recovery skills, mental and physical abilities of the participants under extreme off-road conditions.

The RFC is an off-road motorsport event where drivers have to fight rain, manoeuvre through changing paths, mud, steep slippery slopes, deep ruts, gullies, flooded rivers and landslides in their modified 4X4 All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV). This is the second season of the event.

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