CLARK FREEPORT --- Officials of the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) that 4X4 offroad drivers and teams are sent to disaster relief operations.

Roberto “Robby” Consunji, RFC Philippines representative, said their group continues to train in terms of off-road driving and develop motor sports for disaster response.

“There is a practical application to the (driving) skills and from the Land Rover Club we have drawn the Rainforest Challenge teams from that experience and we’ve deployed for various relief operation such as Typhoon Yolanda in Tacoban,” Consunji said.

Consunji was joined by Rainforest Challenged Malaysia Founder Luis Wee and Fuel Autotek Philippines marketing manager Kevin Buenaseda and RFC Philippines Chairman Rene Romero during a press conference at the Matam Ih Restaurant here on Saturday.

Rainforest Challenge started in Malaysia in 1997 and eventually become a global series, according to Wee.

“More than 13 nations annually come to the mother event in Malaysia to compete. It’s a pure four-wheel drive racing event,” Wee said.

In 2012, the Rainforest Challenge expanded globally, he added.

“Global series now has 21 countries operating the same racing format as in the Philippines and Malaysia and around the world. The finale of the global series is the mother event which is the Rain Forest Challenge in Malaysia,” Wee welcomed the return of the Philippine team to the competition.

He said the RFC Philippines representatives are improving in terms of driving skills.

“The Philippines, I am very happy to say is back into the international arena of 4X4 motor sports. Last year they (Philippine team) came back very big and made a huge impact to the international scene,” Wee said.

“So I was telling Rene (Romero) and Robby (Consunji), Pinoy passion in motion, 4X4 motion. Last year was one of the toughest Rain Forest Challenge ever and the Philippines did well in the top 10 and also they showed very good passion,” he added.

Last year, Consunji said the Philippines sent three teams led by Larry Mendiola, Santo Tomas Mayor John Sambo and Karen Pagquil in the RFC Global Series in Malaysia in November last year.

“They competed last year, it was a very tough race. Larry came in as the number and Mayor John and Karen finished the rest of the race. We’re just happy to be there to be with the best of the best around the world,” Consunji said.

He said the Philippine team is now preparing for a race in Pampanga on July to select the country’s next representative to the RFC Global Series.

“The coming year is gonna be another tough year. We plan to select in the Philippine race in July another Philippine team which we will send to the mother event of RFC grand finals in November 2018,” Consunji said.

He also thanked the RFC Philippines sponsor including Deestone Tires, Fuel Autotek Philippines, Petron, and Airasia.