Twenty-nine hours and thity-eight minutes was the final record time it took for 28 year-old Apple Joy Lee Balibado to overcome the physical hardship and harsh weather conditions to win the Subaru Impreza Challenge Manila Leg at the Fort Bonifacio Global City during the weekend. The petite Apple Joy edged out last year's winner Gerald Gonzaga and will lead the 8 other finalists heading to Singapore to represent the Philippines in the Regional Finals of the Subaru Impreza Challenge.
Rounding-up the top 3 positions with Balibado and Gonzaga is Relly Esposo, an extreme sports enthusiast who came all the way form Olongapo City, Zambales to compete in the Subaru Impreza Challenge. As the top three finishers, they will be receiving Php15,000, Php10,000, and Php5,000 respectively. The seven other finalists are Mark Lauder, Ray Joseph Pizana, Raimond dela Torre, Daryll Sarno, Danilo Biadog, Joseph Galvez, and Chrizar Mallari. All ten of them will fly to an all-expense-paid trip to Singapore for the regional finals where they stand the chance to win a brand-new Subaru Impreza WRX 2.5L Turbo worth Php1.728 Million.
Endurance was the key as the Subaru Impreza Challenge Manila Leg lasted through both heavy downpour with turbulent winds, and scorching heat under the sun with the contestants' right palms firmly placed on the palm decals strategically located on the Subaru Impreza cars. The grueling conditions however, took the best of many of the participants including Pres. Cory's four honor guards PO2 Danilo Malab of the PNP, PO2 Edgardo Rodriguez of the Phil. Navy, A2C Gener Laguindam of the PAF, and PFC Antonio Cadiente of the Phil. Army, who had to endure, and eventually submit to the harsh weather and body fatigue. Despite this, Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc. extends their gratitude to the honor guards for participating and enduring the truly demanding Subaru Impreza Challenge.
The ten finalists will aim to last more than the record time of 81 hours and 32 minutes set by the 2008 winner George Lee from Singapore, who beat 399 other participants including the 10 Filipino representatives who qualified in last year's Manila Leg. The last Filipino survivor in the competition lasted 62hours and 53 minutes.
This year, a stronger and tougher Filipino contingent is expected considering the more challenging rules and regulation for this year's event. Motor Image Pilipinas general manager, Nicky Mariano said, "We are very happy with the turnout this year and we hope that we can come up with the first Filipino winner for the regional finals in Singapore."
As promised, the Subaru Impreza Challenge Manila Leg filled the air with excitement as the Subaru Club of the Philippines also held the first ever Subaru Fest, Saturday afternoon. Over 50 different Subaru models were showcased by their owners during the Concours d' Elegance to show to the people what can be done to Scoobys. Providing the party atmosphere was 99.5RT who broadcasted live with their 24k weekend playing through the night. Motor Image also displayed the latest and complete line-up of their Subaru vehicles in the event.
The Subaru Impreza Challenge Manila Leg ran for a total of 29 hours and 38 minutes which started twelve o'clock noon of Saturday September 12 and ended almost six o'clock in the evening of Sunday September 13. Contestants were allowed only 5-minute breaks every 6 hours for the duration of the challenge where they were allowed to eat, drink, and go to the restroom after which, they were to return to their designated locations on the cars.