Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh’s Gurmeet Virdi and co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung won the Force Gurkha RFC India with a total score of 2177 points out of 2700 at Dona Paula. This is the first time in the three editions of the India Edition of RFC that an Indian driver has secured the top spot. In both the previous editions, Malaysian driver Tan Eng Joo (Tan Choon Hong), representing Force Motors, was the winner.
Malaysian driver Merwyn Lim (Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid) of Force Motors has secured the second slot with 2166 points while fellow Malaysian and Force Motors driver Tan Eng Joo (Tan Choon Hong) is at the third position with 2111 points.
Kabir Waraich (Gagan Sachdeva) of Force Motors and Goan driver Cedrick Jordon DaSilva (Floyd Preston) tied up for the fourth position with both securing 1938 points.
Rejoicing over this win, an elated Gurmeet said, “The news is yet to sink in. In fact, I was numb for the first few moments after the results were announced as I just could not believe that I had finally won the competition after all the hard work and efforts of the last three years. The competition was extremely tough this year with neck to neck competition between the top 3-4 position holders. When I slipped down to the second position after the Terminator leg, there was a lot of pressure on me to perform well, especially since we were 40 points behind Merwyn with only three Special Stages remaining. There was no scope for even a single mistake and thankfully Kirpal and I managed to recover the lost points.”
Category wise winners for RFC India include Gurmeet (Kirpal Singh) for the Up to 1610 cc Petrol or Diesel category, Merwyn Lim (Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid) for the 1611 to 2610 cc Diesel category, Northern India Offroad Club’s Bijender Singh (Gajender Singh) for the 1611 to 2610 cc Petrol category and Hyderabad’s Dr. Chaitanya Challa (Shabarish Jagarapu) for the Above 2610 cc Petrol or Diesel category. Force Motors has emerged as the winner of the Team Award.
The other key awards announced include the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to veteran rallyist Jagat Nanjappa, the Team Spirit Award to Mumbai’s Team Fairmont, the Jungleman Award to Abinav Reddy Nukala and Laxmikanth Reddy Thota of Charminar Offroad Adventure Club, the Most Unique 4X4 Award to Vivek Kuriakosse (Ashok Kuriakosse) of Bangalore Off-road Drivers Association and the Environment Award to KTM Jeepers.
A Special Award was given to the four Malaysians (Tan Eng Joo, Merwyn Lim, Tan Choon Hong and Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid) for contributing significantly towards upgrading the skills of Indian offroaders through their outstanding performance.
Another Special Award was given to Pune’s Daulat Deepram Choudhary and his co-driver Jeet Tapaswi. As per Ashish Gupta, who is the founder and director of Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd, the organisers of RFC India, “The level of competition and vehicle preparation that we saw in RFC India 2016 is unlike anything I have seen before in India.
The teams had practiced well and were prepared for all the challenges that we had in store for them. Over the last few days, we saw some exceptional offroading talent displayed by the Malaysian and Indian offroaders. I would like to congratulate Gurmeet and Kirpal and wish them luck for their upcoming stint in the RFC Mother Event in Malaysia.”