a week-long battle among 27 of India’s best off-roaders, Satish Kumar (36) and
co-driver Chethan Chengappa (39) from Karnataka have emerged as the overall
champions of The Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India 2022. The event was organised
by Cougar Motorsport.
duo has won the eighth edition of India’s biggest and toughest off-road
motorsport competition with an overall score of 1895 points out of 2500. This
score is based on their performance in the 25 Special Stages (SS) or challenges
of RFC India 2022.
in 2014 by Delhi-based Cougar Motorsport, RFC India is the India Chapter of the
Rainforest Challenge of Malaysia, which has 45 editions across 22 countries. As
the top driver in the competition, Satish has won an automatic free entry to
RFC 2022 Mother Event, which will be held in Malaysia at the end of the year.
his happiness on winning the most coveted off-road motorsport championship of
India, Satish Kumar, who is an architect from Bangalore, said, “It is so
amazing that I have no words to say! It took seven attempts since 2014 when the
India edition of RFC Malaysia was launched for me to make it to the overall
podium. I feel on top of the world!” Co-driver Chethan added, “It feels really
good. All our hard work has paid off.”
Waraich and Dushyant Khosla of Chandigarh, who were the winners of RFC India
2021, are the first runners-up this year with 1825 points and N Abinav Reddy
and Vishuthi Varun from Hyderabad have emerged as the second runners-up of RFC
India 2022 with 1734 points. Two teams from Goa, namely Cedric Jordan DaSilva
and Aster Dias as well as Dattaraj Raut Dessai and Siddesh Yadav Naik, have
made it to the Top 5 of the competition with 1631 and 1585 points respectively.
Motorsport’s Founder & Director Ashish Gupta congratulated Satish and
Chethan on their win. He said, “I am very happy for all three teams that have
made it to the podium this year. Last year, Kabir won RFC India for the first
time after seven attempts and this year it’s the same situation with Satish. I
am so delighted that Satish didn’t give up and came back year after year
despite having major setbacks with his vehicle every year. Today is a
celebration of his never-give-up attitude and dedication towards the sport.
While Satish’s driving has improved considerably over the years, we also saw in
their team’s performance what a difference it makes to have a good quality
navigator and a better performing vehicle. It’s also great to see Abinav,
another old timer at RFC India, on the podium for the first time.”
and Chethan’s journey at RFC India 2022 started on a good note and they were at
the second position for the first three days of the competition. On Day 4, they
claimed the first spot on the scoreboard and retained it till the end.
the most challenging SS of the competition for their team, Satish said, “All
the Stages this year were very challenging, tight and tricky, which required a
lot of winching. But if I have to choose the most challenging one for us, it
has to be SS 1. Our vehicle toppled once and rolled over twice in that SS. We
somehow recovered our vehicle and continued but at the last obstacle of the SS,
our vehicle’s batteries blew up and we could not complete that Stage. While
everyone had at least 20 points for DNF (Did Not Finish), we also had penalties
and therefore got a zero for SS 1.”
about their performance this year, Satish said, “Something would go wrong with
our Gypsy every day on our first SS of the day. I have blown more than six
batteries during the event and there were constant mechanical and electrical
issues. But we somehow managed to finish the obstacles and finished each day on
a good note.”
strong team work and good communication with his co-driver for this win, Satish
said, “Our communication was good enough to play the game. Whatever Chethan
used to guide me, I used to follow those lines precisely.”
who has previously won the 2018 and 2019 editions of RFC India as a co-driver,
has advice for off-roaders who want to make it big in the competition next
year. He said, “The driver has to be a good listener. If he listens properly to
his co-driver, the team will perform well. My driver listened to everything I
said throughout the competition and here we are on the podium!”
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