Singapore, 6 November 2016 - 24 hours in to the 15th year of the Mediacorp Subaru Car Challenge 2016 and under half of the competitors are still left standing. A total of 110 local and 56 regional participants from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam are still in the running for the Grand Prize of a Subaru XV 1.6 I-S worth S$69,600, without Certificate of Entitlement (COE).
As skies remained overcast for most of the first 24 hours with intermittent downpours, 2014 winner and Challenge record-holder, G Jaishanker, 51, felt that the cooler weather conditions "boded well for participants at the start of the competition", though conditions are expected to change dramatically into day 2. Onsite to support his "alumni" friends, G Jaishanker observed this year's challengers alongside a crowd of new onlookers – the result of changing the layout of the arena. With the stage moved to the edge of the arena and challenge area shifted closer to Orchard Road's pedestrians, the action is closer than ever before to curious onlookers.
Making it through the first 24 hours is Dao Thanh Tao, 27, the girlfriend of 2015 winner Nguyen Phuoc Huynh, who moved from cheering on the sidelines last year to becoming one of 2016's contestants. Dao, who witnessed Nguyen's winning moment last year, decided to "challenge herself" and "take part in the exciting competition". Supportive boyfriend of 3 years, Nguyen, prepared palm-shaped cut-outs for Dao to practice on for up to 12 hours a day, 2 months ahead of the competition, in order to get her mentally and physically prepared.
Another contestant to make it through day 1 is also this year's oldest Challenge participant, 62-year-old Magaret Ragree. Principal and Founder of Divinity Kindergarten, the school for children with exceptional needs, Magaret hopes to win and sell her car to raise money for the school. Commenting on making it through the night, Magaret said "last night's cool weather really helped" and hopes the increasing heat of day 2 does not last.
Visitors of the Car Challenge were treated to special appearances by Mediacorp artistes from the cast of Channel 5 dramas Fine Tune and Tanglin, and Channel 8 drama Soul Reaper. The winner of Season 4 of Asia's Next Top Model (ANTM), Thailand's Jiratchaya "Tawan" Kedkong, also made an appearance and mingled with fans, together with her counterparts from ANTM Season 2, Taiwan's Natalie Pickles and Philippines' Marlena Monika Sta Maria from ANTM Season 3. Visitors and contestants were also able to indulge in free, freshly-baked bread samples from Asanoya, the iconic Japanese bakery, with outlets now at Paragon, Queen Street and Tampines (Isetan) and Liang Court, Singapore.
This year, supporters play a crucial role which can make or break the contestants. Additional rest breaks can be given to contestants with supporters who take part in an online game at toggle.sg/carchallenge. The top 15 game scorers on the scoreboard will earn their supported participant an extra 5-minute break. The scoreboard will reset after every break and the online game will end upon the last 10 standing contestants.
On the periphery of the main competition lies the Subaru Public Challenge – where onlookers and visitors can experience a mini palm Challenge of their own. Eric Sim, Challenge contestant for the 4th year running, joined the Public Challenge after dropping out of the main competition at 9 hours 30 minutes, due to intense hand cramping. Sim intends to last the full 3 hours to win a Subaru umbrella and $10 Asanoya voucher, commenting that he intends to return for a 5th year.
For more information and updates, please visit the official website at toggle.sg/carchallenge.
Jointly issued by Mediacorp Pte Ltd and Subaru.