Day 1 of Rain Forest Challenge gets off to a dramatic start with Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal ( co-driver G
Heavy downpour did not deter the enthusiasm of the participants who arrived from various parts of India to battle it out at the country’s toughest international motorsport. The first day of the mega off-road motorsport event was held at an off-road location in Sanguem Taluka of Goa, with 38 teams attempting Special Stages (SS) 1 to 5. The Incessant rainfall made the tracks slippery and full of slush, making it extremely difficult for the contestants to tackle the stages. The participant’s were in for a great surprise when they discovered that there was also a night stage thus making the terrain and track even more fun and challenging than it was before.
As per David Metcalfe, Chief Scrutineer, ISUZU RFC India 2018, “The stages were designed to be tough on the participants and their vehicles. While most of the SS were already quite demanding, the rains today have made them considerably tougher.”
Chandigarh’s Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal (co-driver Gurpartap Singh Sandhu) climbed to the top position with a total of 387 out of 500 score board.
Jagat Nanjappa (co-driver Chetan Changappa) from Coorg and Arunachal Pradesh Chow Ujjal Namshum (co-driver Ingpeng Mein) were at the second and third positions with 332 and 300 points respectively. The other two contestants to make it to the top five on the score board were Chandigarh’s Gurmeet Virdi (co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung) with 281 points and Dr Chaintanya Challa from Hyderabad (co-driver Shanbarish Japaragu) with 286 points
Day one of the RFC saw four Special stages to challenge the participants, these included
Special stage 1 Considered to be the most difficult stage, the track demanded the contestants to venture through a steep ascent, and descends on the other side. The special stage also required the competitors to move through a gate and head left to move down and make another left before entering the finish box. However the stage remained un-conquered as most participants getting a Did not finish (DNF) remark or opting for a Did not start (DNS) remark.
Jagat Nanjappa of Coorg-based V5 Offroaders, who was the first runner-up at RFC India 2017, said, “The first day has been good for us. We had no setbacks apart from some minor penalties and one DNF for SS1, which no one was able to complete. The tracks are quite challenging this year. So, the idea would be to play it safe and preserve the vehicle for as long as we can.”
Special Stage 2 was another though track with tougher challenges to come, the off-roaders were required to climb a huge incline and make a left to enter a gated box, by opening the bunting and pass only to close it again. Next they had to climb an incline to make a left and descend towards the exit box.
Special Stage 3 allowed the off-roaders to venture into a stream for 150 metres only to climb up an incline towards left and rush towards exit box.
Special Stage 4 the contestants crossed a river crossing in anti-clock manner around a tree, than through a stream again, to climb towards the left before entering the stream again and proceeded clockwise around the same tree before moving towards the finish box.
Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh’s Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal, who was at the overall third position at RFC India 2017, had an amazing start to the competition this year. He said, “The level of competition this year has definitely shot up. The tracks today were very slippery, because of which things became quite tricky. I even suffered a minor vehicular breakdown, which I have repaired now. Overall, my focus today was on preparing myself for the coming days. Hopefully, I will be able to do well.”
While the day was great for some and disappointing for others, there is still a long way to go before the ISUZU RFC India 2018 Overall Champion is announced. The competition will be held at Suquerbag in Quepem over the next two days and then at the Green Hills Agri Farm in Maina, Quepem on 26th and 27th of July, before eventually culminating at the Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat in Dona Paula on 28th of July.