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Day 5 at ISUZU RFC India 2018 saw Jagat Nanjappa of Karnataka retain his spot at the top of the poin

With the competition getting more though, the battle got even more aggressive with the top contenders breathing fire down on each other’s neck at Isuzu RFC India 2018; Day 5 of the week-long event saw the point’s gap get even narrower.

SS18 of ISUZU RFC India 2018 was another day of difficult challenges for the competitors. This stage required them to head straight from the start point, and then makes a hard right; climb up on a small incline; take right again and winch up; followed by a slight turn while winching down towards the finish box.

In SS19, the contestants had to enter a 6-feet deep water pit and drive through it only to exit from the other side and winch up another 6-feet tall wall, while passing through a gate then get into a box while reversing the car, once the car was stationary, participants had to lift up the driver side rear wheel to about one inch above the ground take out a spare tyre and move around the vehicle with it and put it back securely, than lower the vehicle put t back and move towards the end box.

A glimpse of the action at Special Stages 18-21 on Day 5 of ISUZU RFC India 2018 (Image 3).jpg

If SS18 and 19 didn’t was not intense enough, SS20 did the job. The competitors had to wade through a 20-meter long stretch while traversing through a series of boulders after which they had to make a sharp U-turn and return back the same way.

SS21 made the contestants move upstream in the river with all four tyres in the water; after which they and to winch up 90 degree climb and get back into the water stream to move towards the finish box.

At the time of announcing the provisional results for Special stages 18 – 21. Veteran rallyist Jagat Nanjappa and co-driver Chetan Changappa of Coorg retained the lead position with 1614 points out of 2100 points in total. The score included securing points from two of the four stages thereby achieving a straight 100 points in both stages.

Jagat Nanjappa of Coorg’s V5 Offroaders said, “The competition over the last couple of days was defined by two things – participants’ luck and the mercy of the rain gods. While some people got certain stages in day time, others got to do them at night. We ourselves didn’t expect to be in the lead. It’s difficult to hold on to the ladder now that we have reached here, but we plan to somehow cling on to it.”

Nanjappa’s co-driver Chetan Changappa, who has played a pivotal role in the team’s success at the competition, remarked “The main thing about this form of sport is the trust and the co-ordination between the driver and the co-driver. We excel on both these parameters and these have always been the core strengths of our team. The plan ahead would be to stay careful, give away no penalties or DNFs (Did Not Finish remarks) and keep our vehicle safe.”

A glimpse of the action at Special Stages 18-21 on Day 5 of ISUZU RFC India 2018 (Image 4).jpg

Defending RFC India Champion Gurmeet Virdi (co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung) from Chandigarh, who secured the second spot in the competition for the first time yesterday, also held on to his position in the points table with 1490 points. Climbing one spot up from the third position was G.O.A Fairmount’s Mervyn Lim and co-driver Alex Tan from Malaysia who claimed the third position with 1411 points.

Day 5 of India’s toughest motorsport saw Chandigarh’s Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal and co-driver Gurpartap Singh Sandhu along with RFC India’s debutant Chow Ujjal Namshum (co-driver Inpeng Mein) from Arunachal Pradesh ended the day at fourth and fifth positions with 1366 and 1324 points respectively.

Representing Gerrari Offroaders from Chandigrah were the second fastest in two of the stages for the day, while it did seem they were likely to narrow the points gap considerably, they ended up scoring a DNF in SS20 which hugely impacted their final scores for the Day 5. Gurmeet was the winner of the 2016 and 2017 editions of this mega off-road motorsport competition and it could be his third straight win at RFC India if he manages to climb up to the first position. When asked if he feels any pressure on being the defending RFC India Champion, Gurmeet replied, “There is no pressure as such. But I won’t deny that I really want to make it a hat-trick of straight wins!”

SS18 of ISUZU RFC India 2018 was another day of difficult challenges for the competitors. This stage required them to head straight from the start point, and then makes a hard right; climb up on a small incline; take right again and winch up; followed by a slight turn while winching down towards the finish box.

In SS19, the contestants had to enter a 6-feet deep water pit and drive through it only to exit from the other side and winch up another 6-feet tall wall, while passing through a gate then get into a box while reversing the car, once the car was stationary, participants had to lift up the driver side rear wheel to about one inch above the ground take out a spare tyre and move around the vehicle with it and put it back securely, than lower the vehicle put t back and move towards the end box.

If SS18 and 19 didn’t was not intense enough, SS20 did the job. The competitors had to wade through a 20-meter long stretch while traversing through a series of boulders after which they had to make a sharp U-turn and return back the same way.

SS21 made the contestants move upstream in the river with all four tyres in the water; after which they and to winch up 90 degree climb and get back into the water stream to move towards the finish box.

Representing Arunachal Pradesh with team MOCA at the competition Ujjal and co-driver Indpeng Mein who was looking to solidify his position at the points table said “I had no prior expectations whatsoever before the start of the competition. So, I was happy when I was at the third position, I was happy at sixth and now I am happy being at the fifth position too. However, I will try to put more effort to climb up a few more spots.”

A glimpse of the action at Special Stages 18-21 on Day 5 of ISUZU RFC India 2018 (Image 2).JPG

Being the first team to participate in the ISUZU RFC India Ujjal added, “We have travelled over 4,000kms to participate in this event and we certainly want to go back with some sort of an accolade. One of our squad’s team is already out of the competition. So my team is hoping for me to be on the podium. However, I ask them to keep their calm and just wish me well. In return I promise that I will try to do my job to the best of my capabilities.”

Another team from Chandigarh’s Sabir Dhaliwal spared no effort to claim his lost glory at the top of the table. He said, “This is RFC India and the change in top ranks is all part of the game. I was doing well for the first two days and was at the top but then I had mechanical issues with my vehicle, because of which I couldn’t complete a few stages and the ranking went down subsequently. If you look at our competition, Mr. Nanjappa is a seasoned offroader while my fellow team-mate Gurmeet needs no introduction; so I understand that it will be really difficult to climb up the ladder ahead of these people.”

He further added, “Even today, I opened the SS20, which is being perceived as one of the toughest by many. My co-driver Gurpartap helped me through to the last obstacle of the stage, where I had to just winch up 10 meters to the finish box. My winch gave up at that point and I was flagged a DNF! So, I believe that it has a lot to do with luck too. Now, I have replaced my winch with due permission from the competition committee. After that, I have completed three stages, of which I was the fastest in one and scored fairly well in the other two.”

The next set of stages, from SS 22 to SS 25, were held at the same location at the Green Hills Agri Farm in Maina, Quepem, after which the competition moved on to the Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat in Dona Paula on 28th of July for the final stage and the announcement of the ISUZU RFC India 2018 Champion which is being held today.

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