With its strong first runner-up finish at the 2010 Rainforest Challenge (RFC) of Malaysia, off-roaders from the Philippines are setting their eyes on the top prize in the event's 2011 edition.
Helping Land Rover Philippines (LRPhils Motors) in the Philippine contingent's quest for first place is AirAsia Philippines. The team that will represent the country in RFC Malaysia will be known as Team AirAsia - Land Rover Philippines that will be bannered by multi-awarded off-roading father-and-son duo of Larry Mendiola as driver and Hirryan Mendiola as co-driver and winchman.
The Mendiolas and the rest of Team AirAsia - Land Rover Philippines will be in Terengganu, Malaysia, from December 3 to 12 for what is considered as one of the world's longest and toughest 4x4 extreme competitions.
"We believe that Filipinos have the talent to excel globally, and especially in a sport such as off-roading," said LRPhils Motors executive director Marc Soong. "Time and again, the Filipino has proven his dominance in the international 4x4 arena, and in no less than the Malaysian RFC, the longest and arguably, hardest and most unpredictable rainforest challenge. It is also our pleasure to announce that we have AirAsia on board to become our official partner in this venture. We are fortunate to have a partner who equally believes in Philippine Motorsports and Land Rover."
According to AirAsia Philippines' chief executive Maan Hontiveros, the airline company has constantly dedicated itself to supporting sports and that she believes that the Land Rover Philippine Team will give its best in its quest for the title in the Rainforest Challenge of Malaysia as its members have shown in the past competitions.
"AirAsia joining the Team is a major development. We get two major brands to support Philippine Motorsports. We finished first runner-up last year and we hope to do better this year," said RFC Representative of the Philippines and Top Gear Philippines' off-road editor Robby Consunji.
For this year's race, Team Air Asia - Land Rover Philippines will once again run its trusted and significantly modified bright yellow 3.9-liter Land Rover Defender 90. However, instead of being called "Yellow Duck" as it has become popularly known, the team has dubbed it as the "Yellow Eagle." This change signifies the support LRPhils Motors gives to the Philippine Eagle Foundation's conservation efforts.