The Rainforest Challenge launched in India - Cougar Motorsport

Perhaps, this one is definitely for the toughest in the field of off-roading specialists. Rainforest Challenge, which originated in the Malaysia the brim of the last century, has taken the repute of being one of the toughest and honoured events in the off-roading world. Not a race, but can definitely be tagged marathon and it is not for the weak hearted. Much respected organiser in the Northern-India, Cougar Motorsport will be the Indian franchise for the event. Below here is their official release of the event, that was held early last month at Delhi, India.

The Rainforest Challenge launched in India
The first ever international off-road motorsport event of India to be held in August in the Western Ghats

One of the world’s top ten toughest motor races and the most internationally represented 4X4 off-road motorsport event, the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) is now entering India with RFC India’s first edition set to take place in August. The event will be held over a period of ten days from 7th to 17th August and will witness contesting teams struggling to survive through rugged terrains of the rainforests of western India.

The hardcore adventure motorsport event has been introduced in the country by Cougar Motorsport, which conducts off-road events in India for various automobile manufacturers including Land Rover and Mitsubishi. The announcement about India’s entry to the RFC Global Series 2014 was made in the capital today with RFC Founder Luis J.A. Wee handing over the RFC India Flag to Ashish Gupta of Cougar Motorsport.

Rainforest Challenge was first launched in the jungles of Malaysia in 1997 with an aim of giving an avenue to daring off-road driving enthusiasts for sharing their passion and competing with like-minded people. Adventurers from all over the world have participated in this challenge of a lifetime where competitors are taken through mud, drenching rain, steep slippery slopes, deep ruts, gullies, flooded rivers, and landslides that are mercilessly demanding and dangerous. Over the years, RFC has not only become an annual international off-road challenge of Malaysia but has also been replicated globally in countries like Italy, Russia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tunisia, China and Australia. Listed in the top 10 Toughest Motor Races in the World, RFC has now set its eyes on catering to the needs of its fans in India.

According to Mr. Wee, “Globally, RFC follows the motto of the survival of the fittest, not only in terms of physical fitness but also mental endurance. It is an extremely tough challenge for all 4×4 fanatics who dream of taking on a jungle adventure with all its hardship, endurance and extremities; especially considering the fact that RFC’s core philosophy requires for the event to be organized in the rainforests in monsoon season. Now it’s time for the Indian off-roaders to join the ranks of the world 4X4 community and with RFC coming right at their doorstep, they have the best opportunity to upgrade both the skills of man and machine with real live action and learning experience. I would like to see how well Indian off-roaders are able to stand the unpredictable jungles amid perpetually wet conditions without losing their cool and positive frame of mind. Hopefully, they will live up to the standards that have been set by RFC Champions globally.”

Over 50 teams, both Indian and foreign, are expected to participate in the first edition of RFC India. The participants will have to complete 30 Special Stages (SS) designed by experts from RFC Malaysia across a multitude of obstacles where the challenge is to complete each SS in the fastest time and score the highest points. The Prologue stage will be followed by the Predator and Terminator stages that will be laid inside and on the fringes of the jungle. The final stage of Twilight Zone will be an overnight drive across uncharted jungle territory.

Commenting on the partnership with the Rainforest Challenge, Cougar Motorsport’s Director Ashish Gupta said, “It is a matter of pride for all of us to see India on the global RFC map. All 4x4 offroad driving enthusiasts in India aspire to participate in the Rainforest Challenge but it is difficult for them to travel abroad with their vehicles and be a part of this mega international event. With RFC coming to India, they will get to experience the same level of extreme offroading and competition as the mother event in Malaysia right here in their home ground.”

Following the announcement of the launch, registrations for RFC India 2014 have also started. Entry Forms can be downloaded from the RFC India website
Read more ...

FMSCI Prize Giving Gala | Season - 2013, INRC

Recently concluded 2013 season for Indian Motorsport Prize Giving Gala was held in Mumbai few days back. Here is a quick glance of the INRC Team Champion press release.

Pune’s first rally team crowned national champions in first full season in the Indian National Rally Championship

Mumbai, March 08, 2014: With victories and podium finishes in all five rallies of the 2013 season of the FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship, Pune-based Slideways Industries has clinched the INRC team championship. Making this feat even more commendable is that the accolade has come in only the first full season for the team in the championship. The team trophy was presented by senior officials of the FMSCI, the governing body of Indian motorsport, at a glittering ceremony in Mumbai.
Backed by Pune-based Pinnacle Group and Golden Sparrow Corporation, Slideways Industries was launched in September 2012 by four rally enthusiasts – Aniruddha Rangnekar, Byram Godrej, Rohan Pawar and Sirish Chandran. After a slow start thanks to the 2012 INRC season being truncated to just two rounds, Team Slideways Industries stepped on the gas in 2013 and debuted the Volkswagen Polo in the INRC.
With factory backing from Volkswagen Motorsport, Slideways Industries was the first team in India to enter the Polo in rallying. Over the first two months of 2013 the team invested time and money to build, prepare and test the Polo rally car at their facilities in Pune and Coimbatore, and all the rigorous testing and focus on quality paid rich dividends when Sirish Chandran took the Polo to its debut class victory at the opening round of the season in Chennai. That was the first time a brand new car won in its very first rally in seven years, defying all odds and beating other established vehicles, and this set the ball rolling for an incredible campaign.
With India’s leading tyre manufacturer JK Tyre partnering the team from the next rally onwards Slideways Industries enlisted the services of former Production WRC and Asia Pacific champion Karamjit Singh (from Malaysia) and he stunned the rallying fraternity by taking the Slideways Polo to the top step of the podium in the Rally of Maharashtra in Nashik. In clocking the fastest times amongst all the cars Karamjit provided a crushing demonstration of the potential, capability and sheer pace of the Slideways Industries cars. The rally also saw six cars – all VW Polos – entered by Slideways Industries, increasing to seven by the end of the season, making it the largest team in the INRC.
The Slideways Industries Rally Polo is built to Group N (production class) specifications and runs a 1.6-litre engine uprated to over 130bhp with the addition of a Race Dynamics motorsport ECU. It runs on 15-inch JK rally tyres for excellent grip on gravel and tarmac stages, a Quaife limited slip front differential for improved traction, can tackle six-foot-high jumps at over 130kmph thanks to Reiger 3-way adjustable rally suspension and has a ultra-strong roll cage for safety among the other extensive modifications.
Thanks to car and tyre development the pace and reliability of the cars kept improving with Karamjit again clocking the fastest times amongst all the cars at the following rally in Coimbatore. Then on, and with an eye on the future, Slideways Industries entered the uprated R2-spec Polo for Karamjit Singh for the last two rallies. Run by VW Motorsport the car was used as a test bed for the more powerful engine and uprated transmission and suspension components in preparation for a full-fledged assault, and this will be the car to watch out for in the 2014 season.
With cars entered in the IRC, INRC overall, INRC 1600 and J-INRC Slideways Industries ended the 2013 season with 6 wins and 16 podiums. In the driver’s standings Sirish Chandran and Byram Godrej took second and third in the 1600 championship while Rohan Pawar and Aniruddha Rangnekar took third and fourth in the Junior-INRC championship.
Rohan Pawar, team principal, Slideways Industries said: “This is only the start. We are fortunate to have some of the fastest drivers, brilliant engineers and excellent partners and winning the team championship in our first full year is just reward for all the hard work the team have put in. Here on we step on the gas and expand our offerings with ‘Arrive and Drive’ packages for young up and coming drivers. Our aim is to make rallying affordable and less complicated for rally enthusiasts, give them a reliable and fast car that compliments their talents, provide training if required, and ensure more petrol heads can experience the joys of flying off crests and putting a rally car sideways on dirt. I can assure you it is the most fun you can have with your clothes on!”
Apart from Arrive and Drive packages, for the 2014 season Slideways Industries is also renting rally cars for as low as Rs 1.3lakh per event, including full service support and back-up, in order to bring in fresh faces and young talent to the sport.
The 2014 INRC season kicks off with the Rally of Maharashtra, the home rally of Slideways Industries, in the last week of May and is expected to have five rounds at Bangalore, Chennai, Chikmagalur, Coimbatore and the possibility of Delhi NCR or Kolkata joining the fray.
Read more ...

A Hatrick 1+2 finish for VW, Finally a Podium for Hyundai - WRC

Rally Mexico always delivers what it promises.., a lengthy list of retirements & wrecks. This year's spoils were spoilt by the Gung-ho of VW Polo drivers while the final spot was secured by the much sought after, the new-comer, Hyundai, by its star driver Thierry Neuville.

Rally debutante Andreas Mikkelsen had a nasty rocking moment, and knocked off a wheel from his VW Polo R WRC, while former F1 driver, Robert Kubica, learnt it the hard when he had a roll and retired. He had to sit out of the event, as the damage was sufficient enough to not to continue. Many others too were forced to follow suit.

A good first three events top-two finishes is definitely helping the VW, and pushing themselves towards numero-uno spot and are definitely tough to stop in this year's manufacturer's crown. It was again Sebastien Ogier who showed his dominance and his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala was quick, but not enough. Finn was more than a minute away from the challenge, which the Frenchman had put up.

Although Thierry Neuville was at a distant 5+ minutes to the leader, it was enough to secure a third place on the podium. Elfyn Evans displayed a commendable 4th place finish, in his first outing in Mexico, while Martin Prokop finished the top 5.

After a series of retirements in the opening rounds of the season, had left Hyundai to re-consider their development programme [as they say this year's entry, for the next year's full-assault].

The decision is also made and New Zealander Hayden Paddon will be joining the third car in Hyundai's 'B' team, termed as 'Hyundai Motorsport N'. This announcement came a week before to this event.

Citroen men had actually started the rally in full vigor, with Mads Ostberg dominating the rally initially, only to succumb to the pressure from Ogier later in the day.

Kris Meeke had his debut in Mexico going pretty well initially, until he knocked off a wheel from the car and dropped way below the leaders. Hence, the Mexican event was not productive in the overall championship game, for the French team.

Similar fate too had the M-Sport's Mikko Hirvonen who retired due to alternator failure and there by loosing any of the chance in making to the top score. Elfyn's performance was the only chance the team could gather upon any points at disposable.

The car'-nage of the Mexican soil was still not-so-ever enough to stop the charging Seb from taking away the honors of the top step on the podium, after displaying a spectacular car management and control throughout the event. It almost felt like a gift from his senior compatriot, but doing so will not shrink this man's talent in any account.

Jari-Matti despite his pedal-to-the-metal efforts was not enough and he was separated by more than minute the rally winner. Perhaps a few more hundred kilos on the 'odo' might make him as potent as his team-mate.

So for more on gravel [hi]story will be written on Portugal soil soon. Until then keep the spirits up!
Read more ...

Rally Mexico 2014 - Day 1 | Ogier breathes easy in thin air!

Round three of WRC 2014 has began this weekend, in the hot, dusty and high altitude mountains of Mexico. Rally began with the colourful ceremonial start, followed by the Guanajuato Street stage flocked by rally fans. Ogier again made the pacy start by going fastest on the stage, Ott Tanak was a surprise to finish just 0.3 sec slower than Ogier in his Fiesta R5, going faster than all other WRC machines.

Real Rally Mexico began on Leg two with 10 Special Stages. Again Ogier was the man of the day to beat, but Mads Ostberg too found good rhythm with his DS3 WRC and was giving Ogier a hard time, finishing 26.1 seconds behind Frenchman. . Ostberg took three stage wins and Ogier six. Jari Matti Latvala endured the gravel sweeping as first on the road, and climed to third overall. Elfyn Evans had no problems and in a strong fourth position overall. Thierry Neuville lies in fifth trying to find a sweet setup with his i20 WRC. Where as his team mate Chris Atkinson had a problen filled day and was unable to find good pace and lies in eight overall. Local Star B.Guerra is in seventh overall behind Prokop who finished the day in sixth spot. Robert Kubica and WRC2 runner Protasov rounded off the top ten.

Coming to the retirement list there were few to name. Mikko was first to be out with the alternator failure of his Fiesta WRC , Finn was in a podium spot before retiring, Kris Meeke was behind Mikko but he too went off and hit a rock  breaking a suspension arm. Mexico debutant Robert Kubica rolled his Fiesta WRC in Leone SSS, Andreas Mikkelsen too went off from second place after hitting a rock and breaking the Polo WRC's suspension. WRC 2 entrant Ott Tanak crashed heavily on 43km El Chocolate stage.

Thats all for Leg 2 , another seven stages to go on Leg 3 including marathon test 'Otates' until then Happy WRC Weekend!
Read more ...

All-time Top 5 +NEWS