Veteran rallyist Jagat Nanjappa and co-driver Chetan Changappa of Coorg’s team V5 Offroaders emerged as champions of ISUZU RFC India 2018. They have won the fifth season of international off-road motorsport competition with a total score of 2006 points out of 2600. With this win, Jagat and Chetan have become the second Indian, and the first offroader team from South India, to win the competition since its launch in the country in 2014. Jagat and Chetan will now represent the country at RFC 2018 Global Series Grand Finale.
The second position was held by Malaysian driver Mervyn Lim of Team GOA Fairmont. Defending RFC India Champion Gurmeet Virdi of Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh clinched the third spot. After missing the title by just one rank last year, Jagat was elated upon completing the ‘unfinished task’ this year. He said, “We enjoyed every moment of this competition, especially the challenging ones. We were prepared for a tougher and more competitive event this time and we knew that we had to maintain the lead from the very start. The conditions of the competition were highly unpredictable and kept varying from contender to contender. In the end, I think these conditions worked in our favour and piloted us to the victory.”
A nine-time Indian National Rally Riders champion from 1986 to 1996 in the motorbike section, a Great Desert Rally champion in 1988, Coimbatore Rally champion of 1992, MASA Rally Mumbai champion of 1993 and 1994, Jagat has had an illustrious motorsport career spanning four decades.
Jagat, alongside other podium finishers, category winners and special award winners, were felicitated at the prize distribution ceremony in the presence of Luis J A Wee (founder and creator, The RFC, International), Ken Takashima (Dy MD, ISUZU Motors India), J Shankar Srinivas (VP – Service, Customer Relations, EA and PR, ISUZU Motors India) and Ashish Gupta (Founder and Director, Cougar Motorsport).
On this occasion, Luis J A Wee was felicitated with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his unparallel contribution to the off-roading community. Wee launched the Rainforest Challenge in Malaysia in 1997 and is counted among the top ten toughest motor races in the World and has 51 editions being held across 21 countries.