RFC India 2018: Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal and Gurpartap Singh Sandhu from Gerrari Offroaders finish on top after 5 stages
Day 1 of the RFC India 2018
Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal and co-driver Gurpartap Singh Sandhu from Gerrari Offroaders are leading the points chart with 382 points after five stages and a day of intense off-roading at the RFC India 2018. Coorg’s Jagat Nanjappa and co-driver Chetan Changappa from V5 Offroaders have amassed a total of 369 points in the table to stand second while Arunachal Pradesh’s Chow Ujjal Namshum and co-driver Ingpeng Mein from Manabhum Off-Road Club of Arunachal (MOCA) ended third, with 297 points.
The first day of RFC India 2018 stayed true to its name. Rains welcomed one and all in Goa and the even to go to the briefing, everyone had to cross a stream. Initially, there were four categories planned for the first day. Later, due to the constant heavy downpour, the organisers introduced a surprise element: it was decided that special stage five would be conducted as a night stage. The second day was declared as rest day for the participants. All the stages had to be completed within the stipulated time of 15 minutes to get maximum points. Each stage being worth 100 points. There were various penalties for breaking rules that were related to safety and preserving environment among other things. These penalties had a direct impact on the team’s cumulative score for that particular stage.
Stage by stage account
Of the first four special stages, SS 1 proved to be the toughest, as none of the competitors finished the stage. Some of the teams even opted for a DNS (did not start). The participants had to winch themselves through two steep inclines, descend back again through another side and go through a gate and take a left and then come down. Then, they had to go up again from another gate and then come down towards the finish box.
SS2 was the second toughest among the four, as it involved an near vertical ascent, which again involved participants having to winch themselves out. They had to then descend from another side, turn left, go into a box which was situated on another incline, winch themselves out again to descend back in the same route to finish in the stop box.
SS3 was the longest stage in terms of length and one of the easiest ones of the day. The participants had to drive a distance of 150 metres in the stream which was running in the opposite direction. Then, they had to winch the vehicle out of a slushy incline, drive down some distance to descend down another incline into the stream to drive back the direction they came, climb up and finish in the stop box.
The easiest stage of the day was SS4, where the contestants had to cross the stream, go anti-clockwise around a tree and drive down to the stream again for a short distance and take a left climb up with the help of winch. Then they took a left turn to enter the stream again, went clockwise around the same tree before crossing the stream again towards the finish box.
“Last year, I attended the event as a spectator and the rain this time is considerably more, thereby making the track full of slush and water. My first SS for the day was SS4, where I was the seventh competitor to attempt the Stage and I ended up being one of the fastest. That is quite heartening as we have practiced hard for the competition for two months straight. Let’s see how things unfold going forward,” said RFC India debutant Chow Ujjal Namshum (co-driver Ingpeng Mein) of Team MOCA from Arunachal Pradesh.