Jagat Nanjappa and Chetan Changappa will be the only Indians at RFC 2017 Finale in Malaysia
Words by Shubham Choukse
Renowned rallyist Jagat Nanjappa and his co-driver Chetan Changappa will be representing India at the international finale of the Rainforest Challenge, which will be held in Malaysia, later this year. Nanjappa and Changappa bagged this opportunity by showcasing great off-roading skills at the Force Gurkha RFC India 2017 where they finished second overall. Although the top 4 teams from India 2017 competition, including champions Gurmeet Virdi and Kirpal Singh Tung, qualified for the mother event in Malaysia, the other three teams are unable to participate due to personal commitments, making this duo the only representation India has.
Jagat Nanjappa, aged 59, is a nine-time winner of the prestigious Indian National Rally Championship and has a vast experience in motorcycling and off-road motorsports. Speaking about what he needs to do to prepare for the competition, Nanjappa said, “After 37 years of racing in India, I want to put every bit of effort in it and win it for my country. Chetan and I have adopted a tougher fitness regime. We plan to land there and acclimatize ourselves with climate & the vehicle a few days prior to the flag-off. Rest, we have our fingers crossed, let’s see how it fares out.”
Nanjappa will be driving a heavily modified rented Jeep; it is powered by a 2-litre turbo-petrol motor and will be carrying a mechanical winch rather than an electrical one. Cougar Motorsport is supporting the Indian team by sponsoring the $3900 entry fee and the team’s return airfare to Malaysia. They are also putting up $914 towards the renting of the competition vehicle.
“Ever since we brought RFC to India, I have dreamt of seeing an Indian team emerge as an overall champion at the Global Series Finale. We tasted a milestone victory last year at the RFC Global Series Final with Team India winning their category for the first time ever. I am confident that Jagat Sir and Chetan would deliver an outstanding performance and make India proud at the international off-roading stage,” said Ashish Gupta, Director, Cougar Motorsports.
The 2017 RFC Global Series Finale will begin in Kuala Lumpur on November 24th, it will have twenty four Special Stages (SS) that will be divided into four progressively difficult competitive legs – the Prologue, the Predator, the Terminator and the Twilight Zone. Teams from around the world including countries like India, Australia, Russia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Korea, Myanmar, Ukraine, Balkans, South Europe and North Europe among others, will be participating in the mega event.
Last year, Virdi and Tung had taken part in the competition after winning the RFC India 2016. They had a tough time – not only were the stages extremely challenging, but they also had to deal with problems of language and the lack of support they had in Malaysia. That was one of the key reasons why Cougar Motorsport offered to sponsor four entries this year. Once again, the team of Nanjappa and Changappa will be heading out in to the Malaysian forests alone, but they seem determined and we wish the best of luck.