" The drivers were briefed Friday and their vehicles scrutinised by an expert panel to comply with international safety standards."
Panjim, Aug 8 - Off-roaders are excited and well-prepared for the first edition of the tough Force Gurkha Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India which starts from here Saturday.

The six-day event, organised by Cougar Motorsport, will take place during the peak monsoons as the off-road enthusiasts traverse the countryside of the holiday state of Goa.

Started by Luis J. A. Wee in Malaysia in 1997, the RFC has previously been held in Italy, Russia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tunisia, China and Australia.

Twenty-five participating teams, each with a driver and co-driver, will have to fight the rain, manoeuvre through changing paths, mud, steep slippery slopes, deep ruts, gullies, flooded rivers and landslides in their modified 4X4 All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV).

The lashing rains tend to alter paths and the competitors will have to deal with unpredictable erosions, fallen trees and other unexpected hurdles.

The drivers will have to compete in 30 Special Stages (SS) which are divided into four sections -- Prologue, Predator, Terminator and Twilight.

Prologue will be where spectators can experience all the action while Predator and Terminator will involve camping. Twilight will be a drive through unchartered territory.

The first three days will be held around the International Centre Goa (ICG), Dona Paula, after which the challenge will move to South Goa with Jungle Camp 1 set up at Bhati near Uguem. Then they will move to North Goa and Jungle Camp 2 at Morlem near Valpoi. The event will culminate back at the ICG.

Competitors have to complete various SS within an overall time. The team with the fastest time in each SS scores 100 points, the next fastest 95 and so on. Points will be deducted for violations which include not following specified safety measures.

The contestant with the highest points at the end wins but there will also be winners across various categories based on engine size and fuel used. This winning team will get an automatic entry in the RFC mother event to be held in Malaysia in November.

The drivers were briefed Friday and their vehicles scrutinised by an expert panel to comply with international safety standards.

In all, 31 adventurer teams have also registered for recreational purposes.


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