After a week-long grueling off-roading
action, last moment surprises and unprecedented ups and downs on the leader
board, veteran rallyist Jagat Nanjappa and co-driver Chetan Changappa of
Coorg’s Team V5 Offroaders have emerged as the ultimate champions of Isuzu RFC
India 2018. They have won the fifth season of India's toughest international
off-road motorsport competition with a total score of 2006 points out of 2600.
With this win, Jagat and
Chetan have become the second Indian, and the first offroader from South India,
to win the coveted title ever since its launch in the country in 2014. The Isuzu
RFC India 2018 Champions, Jagat and Chetan will represent the country at RFC
2018 Global Series Grand Finale. The total benefits they have received amount
to USD 10,000, including the entry fee, airfares as well as support towards car
rental in Malaysia.
The overall second position
was held by Malaysian driver Mervyn Lim (co-driver Alex Tan) of Team G.O.A.
Fairmont with 1849 points. Defending RFC India Champion Gurmeet Virdi
(co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung) of Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh clinched the
third spot on the podium with 1800 points. Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal (co-driver
Gurpartap Singh Sandhu) of Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh was at the fourth spot
in the competition with 1742 points, while Dr Chaitanya Challa (co-driver
Shabarish Jagarapu) from Hyderabad, also representing Team G.O.A. Fairmont,
secured a spot in the top five with 1668 points.
After missing the title by
just one rank last year, Jagat was elated upon completing the ‘unfinished task’
this year. He said, “This is an incredible feeling. I would like to thank my
co-driver, my service team and my buddy – the Jeep – all of whom put up a
fantastic performance. We enjoyed every moment of this competition, specially
the challenging ones. We were prepared for a tougher and more competitive event
this time and we knew that we had to maintain the lead from the very start. The
conditions of the competition were highly unpredictable and kept varying from
contender to contender. In the end, I think these conditions worked in our
favor and piloted us to the victory.”
A nine-time Indian National
Rally Riders Champion from 1986 to 1996 in the motorbike section, a Great
Desert Rally Champion in 1988, Coimbatore Rally Champion of 1992, MASA Rally
Mumbai Champion of 1993 and 1994, Jagat has had an illustrious motorsport
career spanning four decades. Claiming the only remaining gem in his string of
pearls, Jagat has finally added the RFC India title to the list of his
achievements in the third attempt at the competition.
Jagat, alongside other podium
finishers, category winners and special award winners, were felicitated at a
glittering prize distribution ceremony held at the International Centre Goa in
Dona Paula in the presence of Luis J.A. Wee (Founder & Creator, The
Rainforest Challenge International), Ken Takashima (Deputy Managing Director, Isuzu
Motors India Pvt. Ltd.), Capt. J. Shankar Srinivas (Vice President – Service,
Customer Relations, EA & PR, Isuzu Motors India Pvt. Ltd.) and Ashish Gupta
(Founder & Director, Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd.).
Ashish Gupta said, "We
witnessed an unprecedented intense level of competition this year. Given that
we continuously upgrade the toughness quotient of the Special Stages every
year, with a supplementary addition of night stages this time around, I had
expected the competition to be highly challenging. I am extremely happy that our
contenders have managed to sail through such tough challenges as well. This
proves that Indian off-roading is now attaining maturity and our off-roaders
are no less than their international counterparts. I would like to congratulate
and applaud all the competitors of Isuzu RFC India 2018 for their exemplary
display of offroading skills, valor, hard work and determination throughout the
course of the competition."
On this occasion, Luis J.A.
Wee was felicitated with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his unparalleled
contribution to the off-roading community. Wee launched the Rainforest
Challenge in Malaysia in 1997. Today, it is counted among the top ten toughest
motor races in the World and has 51 editions being held across 21 countries.
Source: Isuzu RFC 2018
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