Team Land Rover Philippines is preparing for its fifth international off-road stint as it joins the third China International Rainforest Challenge (CIRFC) in the jungles of Hainan Island from August 18 to 24.
This year's CIRFC will see the father-and-son tandem of Larry and Hirryan Mendiola go up against 500 other teams from over 15 countries in a modified Land Rover Defender 90 that the team has affectionately dubbed as "Yellow Duck". In effect, Team Land Rover Philippines will be fielding not just the same driver and co-driver/winchman but also the very same vehicle which finished second overall at the 2010 Rainforest Challenge (RFC) Malaysia.
"Larry and Hirryan achieved a Pinoy off-roading record when they garnered first runner-up in RFC Malaysia last year, 2010," said Robby Consunji, Philippine representative to the Rainforest Challenge and Top Gear Philippines' off-road editor. "Larry has been consistently moving up the standings in the RFC races in China and Malaysia over the years. With the continued support of Land Rover Philippines and other sponsors, I am optimistic that Team Land Rover Philippines can break more motorsport records in the coming CIRFC."
Consunji added that a cash prize of roughly P1.3 million will also be awarded to the winner, making the competition even more challenging than it already is. Consunji also revealed that Team Land Rover Philippines is closely being watched by the team that triumphed in the 2010 RFC Malaysia, Sarawak Malaysia, with its driver, Chai Mui Shin, saying good naturedly that his team has some unfinished business with Team Land Rover Philippines.
"This year, we took a more analytical approach in our preparation for the CIRFC. One thing that we did is to move the winch to the back of the vehicle so it doesn't get in the way of the bumper, like it did last year when it was placed at the front," shared the elder Mendiola.
Team Land Rover Philippines is sponsored by LRPhils Motors, the exclusive distributor of Land Rover vehicles in the Philippines. This makes LRPhils Motors the country's first automotive distributor to sponsor a competitor team for an international off-road race.
"Unlike other motorsports, off-roading is a sport in which Filipinos can dominate! We are extremely happy with the performance of our Land Rover Defender 90, and our Team Land Rover Philippines, Larry and Hirryan who have already proven what they can do in this field. It requires special skills to compete, and these two, who will represent our country, will surely show the world our excellence in off-roading, making the Philippines stand out once again," Marc Soong, executive director of LRPhils Motors proudly noted.