The rough and tough terrain of Malaysia beckons but Anand Manjooran and co-driver Vishnu Raj have created a bit of history by becoming the first rally team from India to participate in the Grand Final of RFC in their own vehicle.
Anand and Vishnu of KTM Jeepers, the Kottayam-based rally team, were the first runners-up in RFC 2021 and RFC 2019 and earned the right to participate in the RFC Grand Final which will begin in Malaysia on November 27.
After a long drawn paperwork which took more than six months, Anand was finally able to ship his 1.6 litre petrol Maruti Gypsy jeep to Malaysia last week.
Anand skipped this year’s RFC Challenge in order to get the papers ready for his participation in the Grand final.
“The biggest hurdle was getting the vehicle cleared by the customs. Since it is a modified vehicle, the Kochi Customs people weren’t familiar with the rules and regulations. Moreover, we needed a lot of approvals from the Central and State Government authorities. It took me nearly six months to get the necessary clearances and I was finally able to ship the vehicle last week.
“But I still need to get the final clearance from Malaysian Customs to participate in the rally. It is the long documentation work that has prevented many of the RFC India winners from participating in the Grand Final. I could have hired a vehicle in Malaysia but I was keen to drive my own vehicle in the 25th edition and my aim is to keep the Indian flag flying high,’‘ said Anand.
“It is one of the toughest off-road events in the World. I will be entering into unknown territory as the terrain will be different from what I have driven here in India. I heard that most of the tracks are slushy and there will be twilight stages which may take up to 48 hours to finish. It will be a tough challenge for me and for the vehicle,’‘ said Anand, who has been off-roading since 2008.
Anand who has been driving the Gypsy for the last five years has made some modifications to the vehicle and is hopeful that it will stand the rigours of tough terrain in Malaysia.
“I would have loved to have a bigger and more powerful petrol engine but it is difficult to get such engines here in India. So I upgraded the winches and made a few changes to the suspension. I hope the Jeep will not fail me in Malaysia,’‘ said Anand.
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