Quepem, July 26, 2018: With the competition becoming more intense every passing day, Day 4 at ISUZU RFC India 2018, the country’s toughest international off-road motorsport competition, only added fuel to the fire as it witnessed some crucial ups and downs in the ranking order. At the time of the announcement of the provisional results for SS 10-17, veteran rallyist Jagat Nanjappa (co-driver Chetan Changappa) from Coorg climbed up to the numero uno spot on the leader board with 1261 points out of1700.
Defending RFC India Champion Gurmeet Virdi (co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung) from Chandigarh climbed up two spots to claim the second position with 1199 points. Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal (co-driver Gurpartap Singh Sandhu) from Chandigarh, who was till now at the top of the score board, moved down to the third spot with 1087 points. Malaysian driver Mervyn Lim (co-driver Alex Tan) and Chow Ujjal Namshum (co-driver Ingpeng Mein) from Arunachal Pradesh were at the fourth and fifth positions at the end of Day 4 with 1064 and 1054 points respectively.
Jagat Nanjappa, who is representing Coorg’s V5 Offroaders, said, “We rolled-down in the first stage that we attempted today and ended up with a DNF. In the second stage, we faced technical issues with the 4WD setting of our vehicle. But then we pushed ourselves a little extra to make up for the lost points. Thankfully, things took a positive turn and the rest of the day went well for us.”
Gurmeet Virdi of Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh, who has finally claimed a spot in the top three in Season 5 of RFC India, said, “I had some luck riding by my side today as I managed to perform well in most of the Stages. I had zero DNFs and my timings were also good. The strategy ahead would be to complete all the stages and try to be one of the fastest vehicles, if not the fastest.”
Day 4 at ISUZU RFC India 2018 saw 4 Special Stages, SS 10 – 13, of varying difficulty levels running at Suquerbag in Quepem in Goa. These were followed by 4 more Special Stages, SS 14 – 17, that were held at night at the same location.
In SS10, the competitors were required to go down a track; take a left turn in a deep pit; come up from the other side; then enter a box; take a U-turn towards left; come up, only to go down a little again; take a right and winch-up an incline; and then run towards the finish box.
SS11 required the contestants to go clockwise after the start point; take a U-turn and climb up a stone wall towards right; while using winch at the first point and anchor at the second.
A short yet technical SS 12 had participants go down from the start point; take a left into the valley; then winch up a slope of around 45 degrees; go down and come back up again; before winching a distance of
around 100 meters to the stop box. SS13 too had a drop just after the start point; after which participants had to take a left into the water stream; then go downstream, with all four tyres touching the stream throughout, and then exit a gate; take a U-turn and enter the stream again through the same gate; then trace their way in the stream towards a slope; before eventually winching up towards the finish box.
The night stages added an extra level of difficulty for the contestants as limited visibility meant that they had to be extra vigilant to ensure that they did not take a wrong step, which would lead to loss of points
or damage to their vehicle.
RFC India debutant Chow Ujjal Namshum of Arunachal Pradesh’s Team MOCA, who started the competition at the third position but then slid down the ranking order, managed to climb one spot up to make a place for himself in the top 5 at the end of Day 4. He said, “As soon as the day ended yesterday, I knew that I was going to drop ranks. It had a lot to do with the rain-gods as well as my luck. I did all the stages, but I was a little slower.” He added, “The competition still has a couple of more days to go. I have been driving safe and slow till now in order to ensure that I preserve my vehicle till the end. However, I plan to start taking more risks from tomorrow onwards.”
Another RFC India debutant Shruti Ranjan Pai, who leads the only ladies team at the competition, remarked about her journey so far in the competition, “I came here to learn and enjoy the sport. I perceived it to be all about adrenaline rush and speed but it turned out that it requires a lot of techniques as well as knowledge about the dynamics of your car. The first day of the competition was a bit of a shocker for me; it was like you are put in a deep-end, you don’t know how to swim and they are expecting you to float! It was raining continuously and the tracks were flooded with slush. So, I was apprehensive about going in some stages, but once I went inside, nothing mattered and I started enjoying it.” Shruti (co-driver Sara Fanning) is currently at the 29th position with 264 points.
The next set of stages will be held at the Green Hills Agri Farm in Maina, Quepem on 26 th and 27 th of July, before the culmination of the event at the Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat in Dona Paula on 28 th of July.