Breaking the records of the Cebu and Davao finalists, the all-male team of seven finalists of the Subaru Impreza Challenge Manila leg held on to the car for 13 hours, 4 minutes and 46 seconds. They will fly to Singapore next month to compete in the regional final in an attempt to win a brand-new Subaru Impreza 2.0i six-speed MT sedan.
The Manila leg qualifiers include two veterans who have previously joined the challenge, and five newbies. Seasoned challenger Alex Neblasca has qualified for the Singapore final four times, and this will be his fifth attempt to try to win the car next month. Robert Ocampo, likewise, is a veteran, being a third-time contestant and finalist. The first-time contestants are Edward Vargas, Ed Rael Marcos, Carlos Antonio Creencia, Ariel Frayna and Juan Furiscal. They all endured the scorching heat and the rain showers.
There were 116 challengers who showed up last Saturday, some of them signing up on the spot at 9th Avenue in Bonifacio Global City. The number of contestants progressively dropped as the organizers introduced different challenges. The participants were not allowed to eat or drink while holding on to the car. Every six hours, they were given a five-minute break. Failure to put one's hand back on the designated spot after the break meant disqualification.
In Singapore, these seven men will join Cebu leg winner Joberth Estrera, Davao leg winner Albert Saguillo and the Pampanga leg (September 14) winner in the final round. They will compete with other hopefuls from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia and China.
Photos by Tracy Carpena