Gerrari Offroaders' Gurmeet Virdi and navigator Kirpal Tung managed to consolidate their lead at the top of the points standings of the 2017 Rain Forest Challenge India (RFC India), but it is still by no means unassailable. With the conclusion of special stages 19 to 24 yesterday, the RFC India is done with the part of the event that was based in forest and Virdi and Tung find themselves 59 points clear of V5 Offroaders' Jagat Nanjappa and navigator Chetan Changappa.
Siddhartha Santosh and Prithviraj AC of BODA had been trailing Virdi and Tung by just one point prior to yesterday's stags but now find themselves 292 points adrift in third place. Santosh has been struggling with an injured back since day before yesterday and their Baleno-engined Gypsy has been picking up damage throughout the event.
Three DNFs yesterday including losing a lot of time while trying to perform a three-point turn in a narrow stream seems to have cost them their shot at victory.
However, the event is not yet done with two more stages that organizers Cougar Motorsport intend to stretch to Sunday morning. This was done in order to give the spectators that will come to the Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat in Dona Paula a chance to see the winners crowned. Normally the spectator friendly prologue was held at the beginning of the event, but then left them with just reports with which to ascertain who emerged victorious.
Behind the top three, Goa's own Cedrick Jordan Da Silva and navigator Dushyant Khosla dropped out of the top five after two DNFs including one stage where they suffered a puncture. They now find themselves in seventh overall.
Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal and navigator Gurpratap Singh of Gerrari Offroaders are now in fourth place with Team Fairmont's Merwyn Lim and navigator Tan Choon Hong recovering from their early troubles to storm into the top five.
2017 RAIN FOREST CHALLENGE INDIA (Top ten after SS 24)
1) Gurmeet Virdi/Kirpal Tung – 1829
2) Jagat Nanjappa/Chetan Changappa – 1765
3) Siddharth Santosh/Prithviraj AC – 1537
4) Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal/Gurpratap Singh – 1492
5) Merwyn Lim/Tan Choon Hong – 1476
6) Vivek Thomas Kuriakosse/Ashok Abraham Kuriakosse – 1433
7) Cedrick Jordan DaSilva/Duhsyant Khosla – 1396
8) N Abhinav Reddy/Saiyed Taj – 1275
9) Sam Kurian Karalickal/Arun Padupoyil – 1273
10) Chaitanya Challa/Shabarish Jagarapu – 1192