Land Rover RP team aims for off-road top spot

by Ma. Rosanna Mina,

Posted at Oct 22 2009 06:11 PM | Updated as of Oct 23 2009 03:16 AM

MANILA - After finishing fifth overall in the recently-concluded China-Sanya 4x4 International Off-road Challenge, Team Land Rover Philippines is setting its sights on greater heights.

“We’re planning to top again… we’re going for No. 1,” Marc Soong, executive director of Land Rover Philippines Motors, Inc., told

Soong said Team Land Rover Philippines will aim for the top spot when it competes at the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) 2009 in Malaysia on December.

The team finished fifth with 2,520 points in the China-Sanya Challenge held last Sept. 19 to 23. The event drew 40 teams from Asia and Europe.

Team Malaysia topped the 4x4 challenge (2,946 points), followed by Hong Kong (2,720 points), China (2,593 points), and another team from China (2,547 points).

The RP team, in addition, was the overall champion in the "Electric Winch Category" with 2,250 points. They bested teams from Sri Lanka, China, Poland, Lebanon, Russia and Great Britain.

Driver Larry Mendiola and co-driver Atoy Jamila went throught 4 special stages (SS) in the jungle where they had to use winch power, the right tactics, strategy, skills and a well-prepared 4x4 machine, a Land Rover statement explained.

They won the "Elecric Winch Category" after having "taken full advantage of the power of the winch." An electric winch is used to pull a 4x4 from a ditch or any other problematic area that the vehicle encounters during competition.

It also won the “First Island Entry Award.” The special award is given to the first foreign team that reached Sanya, China.

More extreme

Mendiola and Jamila said they spent two days in the prologue stage and three days in the jungle.

“Mahirap talaga doon… ikaw bahala paano mailulusot ang sasakyan,” said Mendiola, who has been involved in off-road racing since 1995.

Mendiola received the “Driver of the Year – 4x4 Category” from the Automobile Association of the Philippines in 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2004.

Jamila, who has been into off-road racing since 2000, has competed thrice in the RFC in 2000, 2005 and 2006.

Meanwhile, Soong also mentioned that Team Land Rover Philippines will be using a different car for the Malaysian competition.

He said the change is due to the fact that they are going for “a little more extreme.”

Soong revealed that Mendiola and Jamila used his personal car in the China-Sanya Challenge.