The first day of the 2018 Isuzu Rain Forest Challenge started off with a heavy downpour in Sanguem, Goa. At the end of Special Stages (SS) 1-5, Sanbir Singh Dhaliwal and his co-driver Gurpartap Singh Sandhu from Chandigarh emerged at the top of the score board securing 387 points out of 500.
Coming in second at the day 1 was Jagat Nanjappa and co-driver Chetan Changappa (332 points) from Coorg. The third place was secured by Arunachal Pradesh’s Chow Ujjal Namshum and his co-driver Ingpeng Mein (300). The other two contestants who made it to the top five on the score board are Chandigarh’s Gurmeet Virdi (co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung) with 281 points and Hyderabad’s Dr Chaitanya Challa (co-driver Shabarish Jagarapu) with 268 points, at the fourth and fifth positions respectively.
The torrential rainfall made the tracks slippery and full of slush, making it extremely difficult for the contestants to tackle the stages. David Metcalfe, chief scrutineer, RFC India 2018, commenting on the day one, said “The stages were designed to be tough on the participants and their vehicles. While most of the SS were already quite demanding, the rains today have made them considerably tougher.”
The teams were allocated maximum 15 minutes for completing an SS, each one worth 100 points. The competitors who were unable to finish a task within the allowed time were given a DNF (Did Not Finish). Moreover, penalties were given to the teams for making mistakes. These penalties had a direct impact on the team’s cumulative score for that particular SS.
The SS1 was the most difficult stage of the day and remained unconquered, resulting in most of the contestants getting a DNF and the others opting for a DNS (Did Not Start) remark. The SS2 was another tricky stage, but the SS3 and SS4 required the participants to enter a running stream of water.
The competition will now move to Suquerbag in Quepem over the next two days and then at the Green Hills Agri Farm in Maina, Quepem on 26th and 27th of July. It will eventually culminate at the Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat in Dona Paula on 28th of July when the final winners will be announced.