PUTRAJAYA – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today marked the commencement of the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) Grand Final by flagging off 26 four-wheel-drive (4×4) vehicles. The event, held at Dataran Putra, saw the Prime Minister arrive at the flagging-off point at 5.20 pm, where he was greeted by notable figures including Unity Ministry secretary-general Datuk Azman Mohd Yusof, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture senior division secretary (Management) Datuk Shaharudin Abu Sohoy, and the founder and director of RFC and Rainforest Global Series, Luis Wee. Anwar, who played a significant role in the RFC’s inception, had officiated the first challenge 26 years ago, on November 23, 1997, when he was the deputy prime minister. The event took place at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, marking the beginning of what would become a renowned international off-road motorsport event.

According to BERNAMA News Agency, over its 26 editions, the RFC has successfully maintained Malaysia’s prominence on the global stage, achieving its aim of promoting the country as a sports tourism destination, especially for international off-road motorsport championships. Wee highlighted that the RFC has put Malaysia on the map, ranking it third among the top 10 toughest motorsport events globally. This places it alongside prestigious events like the Dakar Rally, BAJA Race, Le Mans 24-hour Race, and Isle of Man Race.

Wee further mentioned that this year’s RFC Grand Final will be held in Perak from December 1 to 11. Participants will traverse forest routes and inland areas in locations such as Sungai Siput, Kuala Kangsar, Lenggong, and Gerik, before concluding the challenge in Ipoh. The choice of Perak as the venue was attributed to its diverse tourist attractions, scenic flora and fauna, and suitability for outdoor activities, including off-road motorsport.

The RFC Grand Final is set to feature approximately 300 local and foreign participants, drawing competitors from various countries including Russia, Mongolia, China, South Korea, the United States, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Italy, the Philippines, and Indonesia.