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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia competes in car challenge

Cambodia competes in car challenge

Photo by: Simala Pan
Ten Cambodian contestants took part in the tenth annual Subaru Palm Challenge on Sunday in which participants vie to keep their hand on a car for the longest in order to win it. The contest finished yesterday morning with Singaporean sales manager Chong Kiat Chi driving away in a US$75,000 Subaru WRX after keeping his hand firmly planted on it for more than three days.

After keeping his palm firmly att-ached to a Subaru Impreza WRX for three days, three hours and 36 minutes, Singaporean sales manager Chong Kiat Chi was able to drive away in it yesterday, after outlasting 400 other contestants to triumph in the 2011 Subaru Palm Challenge.

A six-time contestant in the annual endurance contest, Kiat Chi defeated 10 Cambodian challengers who flew into Singapore on Sunday to take part, braving hot weather and occasional pelting rain for their chance to win the US$74,000 car.

Cambodian contestants in this year’s challenge came from all sorts of backgrounds. They ranged from students, including Rithy Phan and Chan Rithy Tab, to Phany Houn, chief of marketing for the Bunna Realty Group. What they had in common was their triumph at an earlier round of the competition in Malaysia in September, qualifying them to take part in the Palm Challenge grand final in Singapore, organised by Subaru distributor Tan Chong International.

Speaking at the start of the contest on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the first Subaru Palm Challenge, Clain Tan, CEO of Tan Chong International, told reporters the contest was designed to test their ability to break through barriers and perform at the same “excellent level” that Subaru cars do.

“We set up this competition for those who love driving and are competitive-minded. For those who have high commitment, and willing to put in a good performance, just like our cars.”

The 400 participants in the final round of the Palm Challenge, held at a shopping plaza in Ngee Ann city, were drawn from neighbouring countries including Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia and China.

2011 was the first time Cambodian participants qualified to compete in the Palm Challenge finals according to Tan.

As well as the Impreza WRX, compensation prizes of $1000 for the longest-lasting competitor from each country were awarded, as well as a $5000 joint prize for the country with the most competitors remaining in the challenge by day three.

Speaking after his victory, Kiat Chi thanked his family for supporting him, and said he was glad to have finally won the Palm Challenge after six unsuccessful tries.  

“I’m incredibly happy to have won. With the support of my family and friends, I was able to last much longer.”

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