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Rainforest Challenge China: Enter the Dragon - in Sanya/China.

This coming 19-23 September, it’s the unleashing of a Chinese Dragon from the South China Sea on the island of Hainan a.k.a the "Hawaii of China." For the first time ever in the "Middle Kingdom," overseas off-road teams will pit their wits, strategy, techniques, driving and recovery skills with their Chinese counterparts in five days of explosive action.

This inaugural China-Sanya International Off-Road Challenge, is a signature event from the Founder of the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) - the world’s most internationally represented 4x4 events; the world’s number 1 extreme off-road jungle event and the F1 of 4x4. The RFC in Malaysia attracts participants and media from over 35 countries annually since 1997.

Among the international 4x4 warriors coming for this historic debut event will be the Baltic Knights (Poland), Benzi 4x4 Team (Lebanon), Roaring Lion FWDC (Sri Lanka), Wild Nusantara & Ladies of Steel (Indonesia), Typhoon Larry (Philippines), Siam Warriors (Thailand), Rawang Raiders ( West Malaysia) and Headhunters 4x4 Borneo (Sarawak, Malaysia).

These are also among the most experienced teams in their respective countries and who have also seen extreme 4x4 action in the Twilight Zone of the RFC, bearing the scars of "battle" as well as the RFC badge of honour as the toughest of the tough.

It will be interesting to see how these off-road warriors representing Europe, Middle East South Asia and South-East-Asia fight their first 4x4 battle in China. And, for the Chinese 4x4 teams, it will be a bonus for them as they get a taste of the upgraded RFC special stages as well as testing their skills in the company of such experienced adventurers.

Here’s a round up of who’s who from the international teams

1. Baltic Knights. Marek and Agnieska Janaszkiewicz is a husband-wife combination who has "4x4 combat experiences" in RFC since 2001. They are also among the most widely traveled Polish 4x4 team with experience in Europe, Asia and North/South America. Polish off-road is also renowned in Europe for their toughness. It is fitting that these Baltic Knights represent the European continent.

2. Benzi 4x4 Team. These desert warriors from Lebanon with wide experience throughout the Middle East are cool and calm strategists. Both Soly Khattar and Philippe Abboud are brave enough to tackle the RFC in the worst of times - the Great Escape episode of 2007 and came out triumphantly with the rest. With the status of "battle proven in both desert and jungle," they are rightly qualified to represent the Middle East.

3. Roaring Lion FWDC. Sean Hameed and Rushiran Silva is a pair of "cool cats" from Sri Lanka. Hailing from Four Wheel Drive Club (FWDC), the most established club in the country, they have experience in the most extreme test at home as well as in the RFC. They know how to conserve themselves and their vehicles well and know when to use their strategy to go all out in any Special Stage (SS). A good team representing South Asia.

4. Wild Nusantara: Both Hans Mudali and Handoko have lived through off-road exploits in Indonesia, a wide archipelago of thousands of islands. Having conquered the tropical islands back home, they have also tackled the rough and tumble of the RFC for a number of years already. Don’t be taken in by their "tame" looks, they are cool "inside" but wild on the "outside" to take on the most extreme.

5. Lady of Steel: Petite and pretty looking, but Paramitha Paat is not your average kind of woman. She’s a "lady of steel made in Sulawasi," another island from Indonesia. What’s a nice lady like that doing in a macho-sport like this? Well, she got guts by going to RFC 2008, survived the 34 hours of incessant rain in the jungle and lived to tell her tale. What she lacked in muscles, she certainly made up for her daring spirit of "never giving up." With her nerves of steel and good looks, she will be a guaranteed attraction at Sanya.

6. Typhoon Larry. Hilario Larry Mendiola is not known as "typhoon" for nothing. This strong-willed man, a top contender from Philippines knows no fear in the jungle and he also knows his techniques well. He knows when to go all out and when to pull back. Together with co-driver Sergio, they have lots of guts and muscle but with brains too. They are among the teams who have conquered the Twilight Zone of the RFC; that is something to shout about. Watch them in action.

7. Rawang Raiders. These three teams from West Malaysia is headed by Chong Yoke Sang (team 110) are also among the top 5 teams in RFC since 2004. Their skills and techniques are among the best, and that’s why they have consistently been in the top 5 since 2004 and champion in the class categories too. They know what they do and they will be the teams to watch for the Overall Champion title. That is enough to say how good they are.

8. Headhunters 4x4 Borneo. Malaysia is divided into West and East. The East is made up of Sarawak and Sabah on the island of Borneo. These two states are renowned for jungle off-road; Chai Mui Shin and his Headhunters team have plenty to show how they can tackle any obstacles in the SS. They don’t give up easily, they are from Borneo.

As for the Chinese teams coming from the length and breadth of the country, the most likely contenders for the national champion will come from Yunnan and Guangzhou regions as they have the best pool of 4x4 teams and modified vehicles to rely upon.

"All in, this Sanya event will be a historic first for 4x4 diplomacy for Chinese participants and their overseas counterparts - an exchange of culture, friendship and off-road. The five days will indeed, be an eye-opener for everyone, from the teams to the spectators. Catch the thrills and spills in Sanya," summed up Luis J.A.Wee, the founder of RFC.

The Programme Schedule (subject to changes)

18 September 2009: Arrival of all foreign/local participants and media to Sanya. Official briefing in the evening at official hotel.
19 September 2009: It’s show time - "Unleash the Dragon!" Opening ceremony followed by Prologue Special Stages (SS) in the city.
20 September 2009: Continuation of the Prologue SS. Afternoon departure for Campsite 1. Night SS.
21 September 2009: Rumble in the Forest SS at Campsite 1 & 2.
22 September 2009: Rumble in the Forest SS II. Adventure route to Campsite 3.
23 September 2009: Rendezvous Campsite 3. Depart and show-time in the city, Prize giving/awards.
24 September 2009: Departure of all foreign participants & media.

For more informations, contact Luis J.A. Wee at [ ] or visit the official website at [ ].

2009/08/06 | 17:34 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Luis J.A. Wee

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