Quepem, July 27, 2016: The third season of Force Gurkha RFC India is nearing its conclusion and each passing day has resulted in a reshuffling of the top five position holders, thereby keeping the competitors constantly on their toes. Merwyn Lim (co-driver Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid) of Force Motors, who was at the second position so far, has snatched the top slot from Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh’s Gurmeet Virdi (Kirpal Singh Tung) in the Terminator leg of the competition. Merwyn’s score after the completion of Special Stages 19-24 is 1937 out of 2400 while Gurmeet Virdi is at 1897 points.
RFC India defending champion Tan Eng Joo (Tan Choon Hong), representing Force Motors, has slipped down to the third position with 1871 points while the third Force Motors team of Kabir Waraich (Gagan Sachdeva) is at the fourth position with 1694 points. Goan driver Cedrick Jordan DaSilva (Floyd Preston) had a fantastic day with perfect 100 scores in two of the SS for the day because of which he has come up to the fifth position with 1679 points.
Earlier in the day, Gurmeet Virdi seemed happy on being in the lead and said, “The competition has been going well so far and we have managed to keep penalties to a minimum. SS15 during the Predator leg would have pushed us quite back in the ranking order if my co-driver Kirpal had not shown immense courage and manually turned the tyres when the vehicle’s steering rod broke in the middle of the SS. The Terminator stages are extremely important as whoever takes the lead here will have the strongest chance of winning because there is only the Twilight Zone and two post Twilight Zone stages left after this.”
Unfortunately for Virdi, he was unable to retain the lead after this leg. Though he has come down to the second spot after the Terminator Stages, Gurmeet remains the top Indian driver in the competition. As per the RFC India rules, it is the top Indian driver of the competition who will get a free automatic entry to RFC Malaysia 2016 and Gurmeet’s chances of being that driver remain optimum.
At this stage, the competition has become quite tough. The Terminator leg Stages had some extremely difficult challenges in store for the competitors which required them to showcase not only their driving skills but also their knowledge of the equipment and their vehicle’s articulation and capability to overcome extreme off-road conditions. SS19 was a three point winching task which was to be finished in 15 minutes. This task also involved a tricky 90 degree right turn which the teams had to take while ensuring that the three pegs placed at that point were not broken as it would have cost them 60 points.
SS20 was another winching task involving the use of ground anchor to come up very steep slopes. SS21 had three major climbs which had to be done carefully as there were seven 30 point penalties in this Stage. SS22 was the most difficult task of the day and required winching up through very difficult angles twice in a very tight timeline. The challenge was so difficult that the first twelve teams that attempted the task were unable to complete it before local boy Cedrick came and completed it with precision and style in merely 7.5 minutes! SS23 was a test of the vehicle articulation and team’s winching capabilities while SS24 was a fun speed task.
Analyzing his performance at Force Gurkha RFC India 2016, Cedrick Jordan DaSilva said, “So far my experience has been much better than the previous editions. While I have performed well in most tasks, I have had 2 DNF in the competition due to some technical error in the vehicle which resulted in a loss of 200 points. That has had a major impact on my ranking. I am happy with what I have achieved because both the DNFs that I got were not due to my lack of performance but a problem with the vehicle and that is something I can’t do anything about.”
“I have done a lot of offroading events but somehow RFC India remains special. I don’t know what it has got but we look forward to being a part of this event. In fact, this year’s competition is yet to finish and I have already started discussing with my team about the upgrade required in my vehicle before the next edition,” he added.
After one day of rest, the competitors will enter The Twilight Zone, which is the toughest leg of the competition and would require them to cross a certain unchartered territory in a limited time period. The teams that would complete the Twilight Zone will then participate in two more Special Stages before the RFC India 2016 winner is announced on 29th July.