Chandigarh driver Gurmeet maintains RFC India lead

Panaji, July 26 (IANS) After an impressive performance in the first six Special Stages (SS) of Prologue, Chandigarh driver Gurmeet Virdi, with co-driver Kirpal Tung, maintained his lead in the points table on Day 2 of the Force Gurkha Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India here on Sunday.

After completion of SS Prologue 1-12, Gurmeet, from Team Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh, drove his Maruti Gypsy and led with a total score of 936 points.

The inaugural season champions, Malaysia’s Tang Eng Joo (with Tan Choon Hong), who drove a Gurkha representing his team Force Motors, came up with an outstanding show to climb from fourth place to second, thus finishing the day with 931 points at the end of SS12.

Gurmeet’s compatriot Kabir Waraich (with Yuvraj Tiwana), driving a Mahindra CJ3B, failed to hold on to the second spot he earned on Day 1, thus surrendering and going down two places to fourth, with 786 points on Sunday evening.

Experienced Malaysian driver Mervyn Lim (with Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid) also from Team Force Motors held on to their third place with 836 points. He drove his Gurkha on the soppy, muddy and rocky terrain of Dona Paula.

The day 2 of the completion also tested the competitors’ mental and physical skills as it involved only winching their cars. The competitors’ ability to cope up with pressure was also tested.

After bagging full points in SS3 on Day 1, Gurmeet did well to hold onto his lead from the first day. Except a low score of 35 in SS8, he gathered over 60 out of 100 in all SS with his best performances coming in SS12. He bagged home full 100 points in SS12.

Defending champion Joo who had a disappointing day 1 finishing fourth, came back strongly and surprised one and all to stay just five points behind leaders Gurmeet.

Besides 64 points in SS7, he scored between 90 to 100 in SS8-12. He bagged home full points in SS9.

Lim scored at a modest pace in the six SS on the second day. After managing a poor 10 points from SS10, he chipped in with some good scores in later SS to finish third.

Kabir Waraich (with Yuvraj Tiwana), who had three spotless scores of 100 in SS2, SS5 and SS6 on day one, surrendered himself to the Malaysians to finish fourth. In SS8 and SS10 Kabir managed just 20 points which pushed him down the points table. But his two 90 score in SS9 and SS11 helped him remain among top four.

Local man Cedric Jordan da Silva (with Floyd Preston), in his Gypsy, gained two places in points table from seventh to fifth spot, collecting a total of 733 points after SS12.

The next six SS13-18 of the Predator category will b held on Monday in Quepem in south Goa.

Participating teams will have to fight the rain, mud, steep slippery slopes, deep ruts, gullies, flooded rivers and landslides to reach their ultimate goal.

The lashing rains tend to alter paths and the competitors also have to deal with unpredictable erosions, fallen trees and other unexpected hurdles.

The contestants have to compete in 26 SS which are divided into four sections — Prologue, Predator, Terminator and Twilight.

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