2011 winner Chong Kiat Chi - 75 hours 36 mins
On the first day of Mediacorp Subaru Challenge 2012 - the Asian Face-Off, I met up with past winners Chong Kiat Chi (2011), Sandra Yeow (2007) and George Lee (2008).
Chong Kiat Chi participated 6 times before he won on his 7th attempt. His elderly parents and family members although supportive, couldn't bear to watch him suffer and tried to dissuade him from joining. His boss didn't think he had a chance but he persevered and emerged the winner last year, driving away a Subaru Impreza WRX MT Hatchback worth S$92800 (without COE).
contestants have to endure the scorching midday sun or freezing rain in the night
Chong claimed he was lucky on his 7th attempt but hearing him narrate his amazing Subaru Challenge experiences, I am impressed with his positive and can-do attitude.
2007 winner (female) Sandra Yeow - 77 hrs 13 mins
Year 2007 was the "Battle of the Sexes" where the winner of the men and women category both won a car each. Sandra is the first woman winner of the Subaru Challenge.
During the last few hours of that competition, three women were left standing. Despite facing stiff competition from the other two female contestants, she finally took home a brand new MI Rally Team version of the Subaru Impreza 1.5R, worth $68,000.
Her third attempt, Sandra is one tough lady. Contestants have to battle the harsh weather elements, sleep deprivation and usually hallucinations in their ultimate goal of driving home a brand new car. It's amazing how much the human body can endure. I salute Sandra Yeow.
2008 winner George Lee - 81 hrs 32 mins
Army Officer George Lee is the record holder with the longest endurance of 81 hours 32 minutes with his hand placed on a car.
He participated in the challenge for 3 times. Each time his wife disapproved, but she was his biggest pillar of support on his 3rd attempt as she stayed with him for 48 hours straight before he emerged victorious, winning a Subaru Impreza car worth some S$80,000.
I enjoyed my chat with George as he is down-to-earth, optimistic and always has encouraging words of wisdom for any situation.
The past winners have kept in touch with one another and generously share their experiences with other contestants. George has started a Facebook page for all participants of Subaru Challenge. The group meets at Ngee Ann City during each annual challenge, they lend much needed support to the contestants. Look out for them and say 'Hi'. :)