Kabir Waraich and co-driver Dushyant Khosla from Chandigarh win RFC India 2021
As the Champions, they get a free automatic entry to the RFC Global Series Finale
Three teams from Kerala make it to the top 5 in the coveted competition this year
21 teams from across India participated in RFC India 2021
Goa, September 4, 2021: After some week-long grueling off-roading action in the interiors of Goa, Kabir Waraich and co-driver Dushyant Khosla of Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh have clinched the coveted Overall Champions Trophy at the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India 2021. They have won the 7th season of India's toughest international off-road motorsport competition with a total score of 2155 out of 2600. As the RFC India 2021 Champions, they have won a free entry to the RFC Global Series Finale that is held in Malaysia.
The overall second position was secured by Anand V Manjooran (co-driver Vishnu Raj) of KTM Jeepers of Kerala with 2144 points. Dr Mohammad Fahed VP (co-driver Rajeev Lal) of Team Gulf First from Kerala clinched the third spot on the podium with 2014 points. Sam Kurian Kalarickal (co-driver Sacharia Saji) of R&T Off-Road Club from Kerala was at the fourth spot in the competition with 1836 points, while Cedrick Jordan DaSilva of Goa (co-driver Daljit Singh) secured a spot in the top five with 1824 points.
Expressing his happiness on winning the biggest and the toughest off-roading championship in India, Kabir Waraich said, “This is a dream come true for me but it is yet to sink in. I have participated in all the editions of RFC India and while I managed to get a podium finish in the first two editions, the Champion Trophy had always eluded me. In fact, this year was also quite dramatic; the person who was originally supposed to be my navigator broke his leg two days prior to the competition. So, I asked Dushyant to be my co-driver and thankfully he immediately agreed. Our vehicle reached Goa just one hour before the competition started and then we had a DNF (Did Not Finish) in the very first SS. We were facing some issue or the other with the vehicle’s tyres throughout the competition and lost some crucial points even in our first SS on the last day. That’s when I decided that I will push myself to the limit and not give up. So, we gave it our all and got full points in the last 4 SS of the competition.”
The Rainforest Challenge (RFC) of Malaysia is an extreme off-road motorsport competition that is ranked No. 3 in the Five Toughest Off-Road Races in the World by Skoda Motorsport (2018). The India Edition of RFC was launched by Delhi-based Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd. in the year 2014. Today, RFC India is counted amongst the top two RFC Global events out of the 51 editions held across 21 countries and it enjoys a cult following in the Indian and international off-roading community. After a hiatus of one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 7th edition of RFC India was held in Goa from 28th August to 4th September.
Congratulating Kabir and Dushyant on becoming the RFC India 2021 Champions, Cougar Motorsport’s Founder Mr. Ashish Gupta said, "I am really happy for Kabir. It was his lifetime dream to win RFC India and he has finally achieved that in his seventh attempt. His last four SS in the competition were brilliant and showed how determined he was to win."
About this year’s competition, Mr Gupta said, “These are unprecedented times but we managed to host the competition successfully in the true RFC India format of 26 SS and not just as a hybrid event. This was possible due to the full support from the Government of Goa and the participants. The competition was intense wherein we also discovered some new good drivers such as Dr Mohammad Fahed from Kerala.”
This year, the event was pushed back from the usual peak monsoon July-end dates due to the pandemic and lockdown. Rains had receded and everyone was looking at a relatively dry and hot RFC India. But the rain gods were kind and there was no dearth of rain in the true RFC style despite it being the end of August.
Despite the last-minute approvals, which meant a relatively short time for the organizers to prepare for the event as well as for the competitors to prepare their vehicles and come to Goa, 21 teams from across the country and Goa, each comprising a driver and a co-driver, made it for the event. Dr Mohammed Fahed participated with a free entry to RFC India 2021 as the winner of KASC event in Kerala. Co-driver Chethan Chengappa from Karnataka also competed this year in an attempt to get a hat-trick win at the most difficult and coveted off-road motorsport championship in the country.
The competitors had to undertake 26 Special Stages (SS) or challenges that tested their driving and vehicle recovery skills, team spirit, along with their physical and mental strength under extreme off-road conditions. The event followed a point system, wherein the team with maximum points at the end of all the SS claimed the title of RFC India.
Special Stages on the first three days at Maina in Goa took most of the competitors by surprise with the level of difficulty and resulted in a lot of breakdowns of vehicles as well as winches but service teams worked late into the night to keep their cars running.
Anand Manjooran grabbed the lead for the first two days, which was taken by Dr Fahed, a debutant at RFC India who surprised everyone with his driving skills. Kabir snatched the lead from Dr Fahed on Day 4 but lost it again to Anand on day 5. The final day saw one of the most closely fought battles for the top spot in the history of RFC India, with just 6 points separating the first two.
Kabir started on the final day with a flat tyre in the first stage, losing a number of points but put up an incredible show to be the fastest in all the subsequent 4 Special Stages scoring 100 points in each to win with a margin of 11 points.
The other key awards that were announced include:
Winner (Up to 1610 CC – Petrol or Diesel): Kabir Waraich (co-driver Dushyant Singh)
Winner (1611 to 3010 CC Diesel): Dr Mohammad Fahed VP (co-driver Rajeev Lal)
Winner (1611 to 3010 CC Petrol): Ibrahim Firaz Shaikh (co-driver Imran Garag)
Winner (Above 3010 CC Petrol): Shemy Musthafa (co-driver Muhammad Nabil)