Motorsports: Malaysian driver Tan Eng Joo jumps into RFC India lead

Quepem (Goa), July 28 (IANS) Malaysian driver Tan Eng Joo, with co-driver Tan Choon Hong, took the lead in the Force Gurkha Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India overtaking Chandigarh driver Gurmeet Virdi, with co-driver Kirpal Tung, after the six Special Stages (SS) of Predator category here on Tuesday.

Gurmeet, from Team Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh, had led the RFC for the first 12 SS of the Prologue class, but Joo, driving a Force Gurkha, snatched the opportunity of going ahead on Tuesday.

Joo, after completion of SS1-18, is on top of the overall standings with 1,444 points. Gurmeet from the top spot slipped to fourth position with 1,244 points.

Meanwhile, Joo’s compatriot, experienced driver Mervyn Lim (with Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid), also from Team Force Motors, gained a place ahead in the standings from third place to second, finishing SS of Predator with 1,281 points.

Gurmeet’s compatriot Kabir Waraich (with Yuvraj Tiwana) remained the top Indian in third position, with 1,259 points, as he drove his Mahindra CJ3B on the muddy and rocky natural terrain amidst rains.

The six Predator SS, spread over Monday and Tuesday, were held in Quepem in Goa’s South Goa district.

Joo, who came up with an outstanding show to climb from fourth place to second after completion of SS Prologue, did well to get scores above 68 out of 100 in all SS with his best performances coming in SS15 and SS16. He bagged home full 100 points in SS15.

Lim, who finished third after the Prologue stage, came up strongly especially in the SS16, hitting the 90 point mark to stay secured in the second spot.

Waraich (with Tiwana), who had surrendered himself to the Malaysians to finish fourth after SS12, came back strongly to climb one place ahead to third to remain the best-placed Indian. He did well to get three scores above 95 out of 100 in all SS15, 17, 18 with his best performances coming in SS14 where, he bagged home full 100 points.

Kabir’s compatriot, who was leading till SS12, displayed a disappointing performance to slip to fourth spot. He managed to hit 90 scores thrice in SS14, 15, 18 but his 0, 18, 20 points in SS13, 16, 17 hurt him the most.

Local man Cedric Jordan da Silva (with Floyd Preston), in his Gypsy, who had gained two places in points table from seventh to fifth spot after SS12, dropped one place to sixth collecting a total of 1,165 points after SS18.

After 12 SS of Prologue and six of Predator, the next six SS of Terminator will be held in Sanguem (Costi) in South Goa before proceeding to the final two SS of Twilight in Sattari (Morlem) in North Goa.

The RFC is an off-roading motorsport event, where participating teams, each with a driver and co-driver, will have to fight the rain, mud, steep slippery slopes, deep ruts, gullies, flooded rivers and landslides to reach their ultimate goal.

The teams will have to compete in 26 Special Stages which are divided into four sections -Prologue, Predator, Terminator and Twilight.

The lashing rains tend 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, the first season was held in 2014 here in August.



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