Jagat and Chethan from V5 Offroaders win RFC India 2018
After a gruelling 26 stages and seven days Jagat Nanjappa and Chethan Chengappa have emerged victorious at the RFC India 2018 with 2006 points on the table. Behind them 159 points short were Mervyn Lim and Alex Tan from G.O.A. Fairmont. Rounding off the podium were last year’s champions Gurmeet Virdi and Kirpal Singh Tung from Gerrari Offroaders at 1800 points. Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal and Gurpartap Singh Sandhu took the fourth place at 1742 points. Chaitanya Challa and Shabarish Jagarapu grabbed the fifth place at 1668 points.
Special stage 22 was the first stage yesterday that involved a driving down to a stream, fording it for a short distance and winching up a short and steep boulder wall from one gate and climb down from the other. Then, they had to winch themselves out of a slippery and rocky incline which lead to the finish box. A fairly easy task considering the number of obstacles and inclines that the participants had driven over the past week. Most of the participants sailed through this one and some used reverse winch technique to climb down the boulder while some just dropped down to the stream below without any issues. The women’s team damaged their vehicle badly in this stage and as a result couldn’t complete the other three of the day.
SS25 was one of the tough stages of the day. Competitors had to drive flat out and take a left turn with gradual descent into the forest for a short distance. Then they had to take right turn to go further down and take a left turn to face a stone wall. They had to winch themselves out and once that was done, they had to tackle another incline with boulders and slippery ground. To do the same, they had to reverse winch to the top and take a hard left there to descend a curvy path down to the track where they came and make a home run to the finish box. Mervyn and Alex sailed through this stage. Many other participants didn’t get their line right while tackling the reverse winching part, as a result of which they broke their winch cable or got stuck between the rocks which resulted in a DNF (did not finish). Recovering vehicles took time in this stage. Unfortunately Chow Ujjal and Ingpeng Mein from MOCA broke their rear winch cable and couldn’t complete this stage.
SS24 was the one of the toughest stage of the event, where the teams had to drive down a bumpy track from the top of small hill to the stream below. They took a left and forded the stream for a distance and took a left that again had big, slippery rocks. They then entered a narrow and slushy trench and after a short distance, they had to take a hard right turn with no room to maneuver and face a stone wall. This incline led all the way to the top and had three major boulder walls that posed a formidable challenge. Since the ground was slushy and rocks were slippery, a lot of teams got stuck at the bottom of the trench. Excessive wheelspin resulted in added penalties as the ground became even worse for the next vehicle. The only team to get through this without incurring any penalties was Chaitanya Challa and Shabarish Jagarapu.
SS23 was a combination of speed run (SS19) and driving round between boulders in a slope of a hill. This boulder strewn roundabout in the slope tested the spotting skills of the co driver as he had to get out and direct the driver on where to steer and winch out to get out of the rocks. Mervyn and Alex put on a stellar show to take full points in this stage. Jagat and Chethan too finished this stage quickly. Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal and Gurpartap Singh Sandhu had a bit of trouble here. Their off road spec Maruti Suzuki Gypsy suddenly caught fire while tackling the rocks and Sanbir jumped off from the co passenger’s window. He slipped on the rock and injured his right hand. But he didn’t care about the injury and in the next 2-3 minutes they put out the fire and started their vehicle successfully to get going and finished the stage. Gurmeet and Kirpal couldn’t finish this stage as they had broken their winch cable.
The final day had only one stage, SS26. This stage didn’t have any tricky inclines or streams to ford through. This was more of a confusing loop with multiple gates at the top of the pits, cones placed in a line which required vehicles to pass through them all, in a zig-zag manner. If the teams missed one gate, they had a 30 point penalty. With so many gates and a full reverse course of the loop in under fifteen minutes, some of them incurred penalties by missing gates, damaging the bunting and dropping their equipment on the track. None of the participants scored full points in this stage.
And with that, the curtains have come down on the fifth edition of the Rainforest Challenge India.