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October 28, 2012

High Spirits Buoy Subaru Challenge Participants

The high heat and humidity did little to lower spirits yesterday at the start of Asia’s biggest endurance challenge.

The Mediacorp Subaru Challenge 2012 – The Asian Face-Off, now in its 11th year, kicked off at 1pm yesterday at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza, with 400 participants from 10 countries across the region vying to win a Subaru car.

By the first five-minute break at 7pm last evening – a total of 90 had dropped out of the competition.  Of the dropouts, 78 came from the 310-strong Singapore contingent while another 12 were from the 90 contestants from nine regional countries taking part.

More than 900 competition hopefuls thronged the event site this morning, some as early as 7am, for the chance to take part in the final qualifying round and go into what is expected to be an arduous, four-day face-off to win a Subaru car.

Commenting at the start of the event, Mr Glenn Tan, Executive Director, Tan Chong International Ltd, said the camaraderie this year reflects a great spirit that has grown steadily over the past 11 years.

“Over the next few days, support among the contestants will be critical as they all brave the tough conditions, and I wish them all the best of luck,” he said.

Among the familiar faces this year is five-times competition veteran, 53-year-old Abdul Hamid Bin Jonid, also known as ‘Kacang’ who came in second place twice (in 2007 and 2010) and last year (2011) came in third.

“I really had second thoughts about returning this year but all the other past contestants urged me to take part again to motivate all the others,” said Kacang, who is known as the “father” of the competition by the other veterans.

Besides vying for the grand prize, regional contestants - from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam - are also competing for three additional titles and cash prizes. The title of Country Winner will go to the last standing representative from each country, with a cash prize of S$1,000. The last-standing regional contestant will be named Asian Winner and walk away with S$5,000 in cash.  The Country Team Winner title – with a cash prize of S$10,000, will be awarded to the country that achieves the longest combined standing time (the total time of all 10 representatives from the same country).

This year saw the first break extended from five minutes for a further 11 seconds to mark the 11th anniversary.

And for the very first time in the history of the Challenge, the last 11 contestants will be awarded a “Wild Card”, where they can choose from a list of items, such as a drink or a burger. This will change the dynamics of the challenge, as contestants will need to strategise how they will use the “Wild Card” to their best advantage. 

For more information and updates, please visit the official website at

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