MediaCorp Subaru Impreza WRX Challenge 2009

And it's now a global (at the very least, regional) event! With participants from China, Taiwan & Indonesia, will the locals' greed shall be overcome by the foreigners'?

Hundreds of people in Singapore have entered a marathon test of endurance to win a car.

For the first time, the annual MediaCorp Subaru Impreza WRX Challenge is seeing participants from China, Taiwan and Indonesia.

Some 400 people turned up at the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza on Saturday to take part in the event.

They are all focused on winning a brand new Subaru Impreza worth S$81,000.

But some said they would not be keeping the prize if they emerge the winner.

"If I win the car, I think I will sell it and get the money," said contestant Eason Ju, as he does not own a driver's licence.

Eason, 27, is one of the 10 Chinese nationals taking part in the event.

Another participant, 27-year-old Telly Asih Handoko from Jakarta said that he too will be selling the car and put the money to good use.

"I have a dream to set up my own business in Indonesia. I will use the money to set up a motorcycle workshop," he said.

Among the local contestants, there are some who are no strangers to the challenge.

Naisha Jamil, a 41-year-old nurse, is taking part in the event for the third time.

"Last year, I lasted about six hours plus. Because I accumulated three penalty tags, I was asked to leave. I'm working permanently at night. I'm used to having little sleep. So, it shouldn't be a problem...as long as I don't accumulate the penalty tags."

The rules seem simple enough. The participants just have to place their palms firmly on the cars. The last man or woman standing will be the winner.

But it is a tough challenge. Last year's winner, George Lee, lasted a record 81 hours 32 minutes.

The challenge kicked off at 1pm sharp and hardly an hour passed before the first person was eliminated.

He is 44-year-old driver, Ang Theng Chuan.

He said: "I had to place my palm at the same point and I could not move around. I felt tired and it was painful."

From Channel NewsAsia, "MediaCorp Subaru Impreza WRX Challenge 2009 kicks off".



Update on 02/11: And then there were 39 (No thanks to the heavy rainfall!!).

The heavy rainfall on Monday proved too much for some contestants of the MediaCorp Subaru Impreza WRX Challenge.

As it started to pour, contestants - drenched and discouraged - began to drop out at a faster rate.

However, the heavy rainfall did not dampen everyone's spirits, as 39 contestants remain.

All contenders from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong have dropped out of the competition.

Only a few from South-East Asia - four contestants from Thailand and one from the Philippines - are still in the competition.

34 of the original 321 local contestants still have their palms placed firmly on the cars.

The challenge is into its eighth year and the longest-standing contestant wins a Subaru Impreza Sedan WRX worth S$81,000.

From Channel NewsAsia, "39 contestants left competing in MediaCorp Subaru challenge".



Update on 03/11/09: And the winner is...a 40-year-old Mohd Anuar. Congratz!!

A 40-year-old Singaporean has won the MediaCorp Subaru Impreza WRX Challenge after four days of intense competition.

But not before some emotional drama unfolded.

After 72 hours of braving the elements, it was down to 3 Singaporeans and one Thai - Yeo Shu Qing who turned 25 on Tuesday, 23-year-old Santozkumar Poonsolai, 40-year-old Mohd Anuar, and Thai contestant Samach Tepsen.

Samach called it quits around the 74th hour. Shortly after the break at the 75th hour, the birthday girl threw in the towel.

It was then a mental fight between the two left standing. At the 77th hour, Santozkumar was disqualified for moving his palm, but he refused to leave.

"I'm sorry I have to go ahead and announce the winner. Be a gentleman," urged a Subaru official.

After competing for 77 hours and 43 minutes, the elated winner was so tired this was all he could say.

"First thing I need to do is go to the toilet because I don't feel good! And then take a nap," said Mohd Anuar, winner of this year's MediaCorp Subaru Impreza WRX Challenge.

But he will still have to wake up early to drive away his prize at the presentation on Wednesday morning.

From Channel NewsAsia, "40-year-old Singaporean wins MediaCorp Subaru challenge".



Update on 04/11/09: Will we see more regional participants next year? This article seems to suggest so. Well, they'd better start training from now on then. Standing still in the middle of a heavy rainfall might help. Or send you to your (final) rest faster.

This year's MediaCorp Subaru Impreza WRX Challenge saw good response from seven Southeast Asian countries.

Next year, organisers plan to bring in contestants from two more nations.

40-year-old Mohd Anuar won this year's competition.

It was his second time competing, but Mohd Anuar did not come quite prepared, having ended work a few hours prior to the start of competition.

What's more, he was also down with fever on day one. Nevertheless, he prevailed, beating even the 69 overseas contestants.

And organisers are set to have a stronger Southeast Asian flavour next year.

Glenn Tan, group chief executive of Motor Image, said: "This year's weather was very extreme - there were thunderstorms and a lot of rain ... We were surprised that the contestants lasted a long time, especially the Thai contestants.

"Next year, we're looking to bring more regional countries. We're looking at Vietnam and maybe even Cambodia."

This year's contest also had some drama - when runner-up Santozkumar Poonsolai refused to concede defeat after one of his finger moved slightly out of the palm print.

"The rules of the competition are your hand needs to be on the palm print. If any part of the finger or palm gets out of the print, you're disqualified. So it was very clear. My marshall who caught him with a finger out of the palm print told us, and we had to do what we had to do," said Steven Choo, AVP of Programming, Radio, MediaCorp.

Mohd Anuar may have won the S$81,000 Subaru Impreza, but interestingly the Singaporean who works as a steersman, said he is a biker at heart and plans to buy a Harley soon.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Subaru challenge to rope in contestants from Vietnam, Cambodia next year".

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