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    Gurmeet Virdi (left) with his co-driver Kirpal in Goa. Tribune Photo

    Gurmeet Virdi (left) with his co-driver Kirpal in Goa. Tribune Photo

    Chandigarh :

    Chandigarh’s Gurmeet Virdi and co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung won the Force Gurkha RFC India, which concluded today at Dona Paula (Goa). With this win team Chandigarh Gerrari Offroaders get an automatic entry to RFC Global Series finale, to be held in Malaysia later this year.

    The team also won $8,000 prize money. After a week-long nail-biting competition, Virdi and Tung claimed the trophy with a total score of 2019 points out of 2600. Virdi defended his title and is the only Indian driver to have won the country’s toughest off-road motorsport competition since its launch in 2014.

    The overall second position went to Jagat Nanjappa and co-driver Chetan Changappa of Team V5 Offroaders from Coorg with 1906 points. In an interesting turn of events, Gerrari Offroaders’ Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal and co-driver Gurpartap Singh overtook Siddartha Santosh in the final moments to clinch the final spot on the podium with 1685 points.

    Virdi was elated on winning the country’s most coveted off-road motorsport trophy for the second time in a row. “I am overjoyed that we’ve successfully managed to defend our title. It was a pretty tough competition, the positions kept on changing, but we are happy that we came out victorious,” said Virdi.

    As the top Indian driver of the competition, he will get monetary benefits of up to $8,000, along with a paid-for entry in the RFC Grand Final in Malaysia and the travel expenses. Moreover, Cougar Motorsport will contribute up to $3,000 towards the cost of arranging the vehicle to participate in the event in Malaysia. “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,” added Virdi.

    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. “This year it turned out to be a brilliant competition amongst the top three throughout the event. Virdi has defended his title with full force and I congratulate him on his superb performance,” said Nanjappa.

    Nanjappa took the first position in his category (1611-3010cc diesel). From being eliminated in the first special stage of RFC India last year to making it on the podium this year, it has been a fairytale journey for Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal. “It was really close till the last moment. The first few days I was concentrating on preserving my vehicle. I was observing how the course behaved. Things started to improve with each passing day. In the last 10 stages, I became more aggressive and the event finally concluded exactly the way I wanted it to,” said Dhaliwal.

    The Team Spirit Award was given to R Sumanth Shenoy from Chikmaglur, while the Jungleman Award went to Dr. Chaitanya Challa of Hyderabad Jeepers Adventure Association. The Most Unique 4X4 Award went to the Hornet driven by Yamunanagar-based Sushant Saini.

    The Environment Award went to William Dwaine Jungen from Arizona (USA), while the Best Service Team Award went to Gerrari Offroaders.

    The Team Award went to BODA. The Rookie of the Event was awarded to Goan driver Dattaraj Raut Dessai and his co-driver Pratik Prabhu Dessai for their exemplary performance.

    source: http://www.tribuneindia.com / The Tribune / Home> Chandigarh / Tribune News Service / July 31st, 2017

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