RFC India concluded on the last week of July, 2017 and the winners were Gurmeet Virdi with co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung on the first spot, while the veteran rallyist Jagat Nanjappa along with co-driver Chethan Changappa took to the 2nd step on the podium, while Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal with his co-driver Gurpartap Singh, finished on the final third step on the podium. A special announcement by the organising team Cougar Motorsport to the top level finishers, read the complete press release below.
In a surprise announcement, Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd. has extended the automatic entry benefits into the RFC Global Series 2017 Grand Finale, to be held in Malaysia later this year, to the top four teams on the Force Gurkha RFC India 2017 leader board. Previously, this coveted award was given only to the top Indian driver of the competition. Cougar Motorsport will now sponsor RFC India 2017’stop four drivers and their co-drivers to the extent of subsidizing their RFC 2017 Grand Finale entry ticket worth $3,900 and return airfare to Malaysia amounting to around $1,100.
The beneficiaries of this announcement would be the overall podium finishers Jagat Nanjappa (co-driver Chetan Changappa) from Coorg-based V5 Offroaders and Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal (co-driver Gurpartap Singh) from Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh along with the overall fourth position holder Siddartha Santosh (co-driver Prithviraj AC) from Team BODA (Bangalore Offroad Drivers Association).
It is to be noted that Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh’s Gurmeet Virdi and co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung, being the winners of Force Gurkha RFC India 2017, are already eligible for these benefits. Additionally, they will also get a sponsorship of up to $3,000 towards their competition vehicle rental amount. This particular benefit has been extended only to the RFC India 2017 Champions.
As per Mr. Ashish Gupta, who is the Founder and Director of Cougar Motorsport, the company that organizes RFC India, “Last year Gurmeet and Kirpal made our country proud by winning their category in the RFC Global Series 2016 Grand Finale, which is often touted as one of the toughest motor races in the World. But being the only Indian entry they felt alienated in Malaysia under the circumstantial lack of support from fellow compatriots. This year we are resolute to fill that void. So, we have decided to sponsor the three subsequent entries tailing the winners on the points table. These teams have impressed us all with their outstanding offroading skills, determination and devotion to this sport; they deserve every bit of support.”
Incidentally, this will be the largest ever Indian contingent at any international motorsport event in the World. Mr. Gupta said, “This is the coming of age for offroad motorsport in India and we are doing whatever we can to support the offroad talent of our country. We are convinced that with an emboldened squad and support from fellow offroaders, these gentlemen will leave no stone unturned to clinch an overall podium and make India proud at the RFC Grand Finale to be held in Malaysia later this year.”
Nine time National Rally Champion Jagat Nanjappa once again demonstrated his experience and expertise in the sport when the 59 year-old veteran rallyist got the overall second position at the recently concluded RFC India 2017, despite limited service backup and spare parts. He is now raring to show his mettle to the world in the upcoming offroading confluence of the top drivers from across the world. He said, “Ever since RFC has entered the Indian offroad motorsport scene, we have witnessed the level of this sport upscale to about 90 notches than the place it used to be earlier. The opportunity to perform at the RFC Mother Event is a like a dream come true. I would like to thank Cougar Motorsport for providing me a platform at RFC Malaysia where we can showcase our skills to the entire world. We feel really proud that we’re going to represent our nation at a prestigious international offroad motorsport competition. We’ll definitely put in our best to win the title.”
Despite being eliminated in the very first Special Stage (SS) at RFC India 2016, Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal never lost his grit and stormed to the third spot on the podium at the fourth edition of the country’s toughest offroad motorsport event. After having a slow start at the 2017 edition, Sanbir gradually picked up pace and climbed up the ranks in a spectacular fashion. He was overjoyed on hearing the news, “I feel it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity which must be availed to the best of our capabilities and skills. I can’t express how happy I am on hearing this announcement. With me on the podium in the final moments and a ticket to RFC Malaysia, it is like a cherry on the cake.” He further said, “I believe that Ashish Sir is doing a lot for the entire Indian offroad motorsport community. It’s a morale boost for the entire fraternity; people have found a platform to look up to in RFC India.”
Bangalore’s Siddartha Santosh
was an underdog before the start of the competition. In a blazing upscale journey towards the top spots on the leader board since the very initial stages of the event, he left everyone applauding in surprise. Siddartha showcased some magnificent display of offroading skills and persistence to impress his fellow competitors. He was on cloud 9 after his entry was forwarded to the RFC Mother Event. He said, “I’m slowly letting the news sink in! It’s a terrific decision. I believe such a close competition is testimony to the fact that all top performers are almost equally good and deserve a chance at a bigger arena to represent India. It’s an opportunity to get exposure to a greater learning atmosphere. We are extremely grateful to Ashish and Cougar Motorsport for providing us with such an exciting chance and we hope to do our best out of it.
Gurmeet Virdi, who has already qualified for a free automatic entry to the RFC 2017 Grand Finale in Malaysia as the winner of RFC India 2017, feels that, “When only one team from a country is participating, there is a grave feeling of isolation which eventually affects your overall performance. But sending top 4 teams is a phenomenal decision. This is indeed a very bold step, keeping in mind that additional costs will be incurred by Cougar Motorsport to make this happen. But it will provide us with a great deal of advantage in terms of mechanical and moral support, performance related tips and familiar comfort. No one except Ashish Ji could have taken such a big decision because of his underlying passion for this sport. I salute him for that and congratulate all the teams that have made it to RFC Malaysia. Let’s show the world what Indian offroaders are capable of!”
We wish the 4 teams all the very best and wish the top level success in the global exposure.