The Rainforest Challenge just seems to be getting more popular with every passing year. Perhaps the fourth edition is proving to be the most popular yet, with entries for the event that will be held in Goa between 22nd and 30th July, 2017, closing in the matter of a few days. There are a total of 40 teams that have already registered for the RFC India 2017, with eight entries from Hyderabad, seven each from Kerala and Karnataka, four teams from Mumbai, three each from Goa, Delhi and Chandigarh, two from Pune and Tamil Nadu and 1 entry from Yamunanagar.
Speaking of how quickly the registrations for the 2017 RFC filled up, Ashish Gupta, director of Cougar Motorsports said, "We opened registrations on 1st February through an announcement on our Social Media pages and received two third of the entries within 9 hours. This overwhelming response is quite heartening as it means that our hard work over the last three years has paid off and Force Gurkha RFC India is now a well-respected and coveted competition in the Indian off-roading community."
The fourth edition of the RFC India sees Force Motors Ltd continue as title sponsor for the event.
But there are a couple of changes too. Mervyn Lim, who has steadily finished first runner-up for Force Motors in all the RFC India events thus far, has now been signed by the Mumbai-based Fairmont Group. Team Fairmont will field four entries in the 2017 RFC - one of which will be an IronScorpion HMV driven by a driver from the US. Sameer Chunawala, the director of the Fairmont Group, who is also driving this year said, "RFC India is the most awaited off-roading event in our country and every hardcore off-roader wants to compete in it. However, I have realised over the years that our vehicle potential and driving skills are nowhere near international off-roaders. Now that Mervyn is a part of our team, I intend to learn the finer details of off-roading from him. This year, my aim is to successfully complete all the Special Stages and come in the top 5."
There are changes on the part of the event organisers too. "This year, the event will have a changed format for the Special Stages, with a variation in the running order and sequence of the SS. We also plan to have some part of the competition at new sites and will shortly start the recce process for the same." Gupta said.
There's a bigger change too. The stakes have increased in 2017, as the best Indian driver at the RFC India will be rewarded with a prize equivalent to 8000 USD that includes automatic fully paid for entry to the RFC 2017 Grand Final in Malaysia that is worth 3900 USD and the travel expenses amounting to around 1100 USD. Cougar Motorsport will also contribute up to 3000 USD towards the cost of arranging the competition vehicle for the Mother Event in Malaysia.