After a week-long nail biting
competition, Gurmeet Virdi and co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung of Gerrari
Offroaders Chandigarh have emerged as the Force Gurkha RFC India 2017 Overall
Champions with a total score of 2019 points out of 2600. Gurmeet successfully
managed to defend his title and is the only Indian driver to date who has won the
country’s toughest off-road motorsport competition since its launch in 2014.
The overall second position was held by Jagat Nanjappa (co-driver Chetan
Changappa) of Team V5 Offroaders from Coorg with 1906 points. In an interesting
turn of events, Gerrari Offroaders' Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal (co-driver Gurpartap
Singh) overtook Siddartha Santosh in the final moments to clinch third spot on
the podium with 1685 points.
Unfortunately, Force Motors, the main sponsors to the event, did not participate
in this year’s RFC.
Gurmeet was elated on winning
the country's most coveted offroad motorsport trophy for the second time in a
row. He said, "I am overjoyed that we've successfully managed to defend
our title. It was a pretty tough competition, the positions kept on jumbling
throughout, but we are happy that we came out victorious. There was no pressure
throughout the event but the last stage of the competition gave me some serious
chills as the competition was really close. It's the first time that our club
Gerrari Offroaders has clinched two positions on the podium in RFC India.
Overall, I couldn't have been happier."
As the top Indian driver of
the competition, Gurmeet will get monetary benefits of up to $8,000.
This is the second consecutive
year when veteran Indian rallyist Jagat Nanjappa competed in RFC India. He is
satisfied about the fact that he has risen up from last year’s eighth position
to the second position this year. He said, "This year it turned out to be
a brilliant competition amongst the top three vehicles throughout the event.
The previous year's winner has defended his title with full force and I
congratulate him on his superb performance. With a basic jeep and limited
service resources, we pulled out the first position in our category (1611 cc
-3010 cc Diesel) and an overall second position. At the end of the day, I feel
it was a healthy and a strong competition and we are extremely joyous to be on
the RFC India 2017 podium."
As per Ashish Gupta, the
Founder & Director of Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd., the organizers of RFC
India, "We witnessed an unprecedented level of competition this year. With
the enhanced toughness quotient of the Special Stages and addition of the night
stages, I expected the competition to be intense and I am happy that's exactly
what it turned out to be. The superior performances showcased by some of the
drivers this year makes me believe that the offroading culture in our country
has matured considerably and Indian offroaders are all-set to give a tough time
to the best drivers in the international arena. I congratulate all the
participants at RFC India 2017 for their exemplary display of offroading
skills, valor, hard work and determination throughout the course of the
From being eliminated in the very
first Special Stage of RFC India 2016 to making it on the podium this year, it
has been a fairytale journey for Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal. He explains, "It's
been a really close call till the very last moment. The first few days I was
concentrating on preserving my vehicle, I was observing how the course behaved.
Things started to progress with each passing day. In the last 10 stages I
picked up pace and the event finally concluded exactly the way I wanted it to.
I cannot express my happiness in words." Sanbir gives the full credit of
his victory to his co-driver Gurpartap Singh Sandhu. He said, "I think the
entire credit goes to Gurpartap who did a thankless job; as a co-driver you get
called-on for things which are out of your control. But still he did an
The other key awards that have
been announced include the Team Spirit Award to R Sumanth Shenoy from
Chikmaglur, the Jungleman Award to Dr. Chaitanya Challa of Hyderabad Jeepers
Adventure Association, Most Unique 4X4 Award to 'The Hornet' driven by
Yamunanagar-based Sushant Saini, Environment Award to William Dwaine Jungen
from Arizona (US), the Best Service Team Award to Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh
and the Team Award to Team BODA.
The newly instituted ‘Rookie
of the Event’ award went to Goan driver Dattaraj Raut Dessai and his co-driver
Pratik Prabhu Dessai for their exemplary performance out of all the 13 new
teams that made their debut in the competition this year. The Lifetime
Achievement Award was given to Mr. Vijay Kumar for his outstanding contribution
to offroad motorsport in India. Apart from being a decorated offroader himself,
Mr. Vijay is a mentor to Team BODA and his expertise is quite evident from the
fact that Team BODA is now one of the finest in the entire offroading fraternity
Source: Cougar Motorsport
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