The yearly affair that is the Subaru Palm Challenge is back for 2012, and we’re here in Singapore to catch the action while cheering on Team Malaysia, which originally had 10 contestants (out of a field of 400) vying to be the one who drives home a new Subaru XV.

However, I arrived at Ngee Ann City’s Civic Plaza along Orchard Road this afternoon to find only three Malaysians still standing after 26 hours. The contest started 1pm on Saturday, October 27.

The Malaysians are Tan Hong Sheng, Chan Hon Ki and Tan Chuan Kok (pic below), and their palms are still on the cars as I type now. For those not familiar with the contest, it’s simple – 400 hopefuls put a palm on the cars and seek to outlast everyone else to be the last man/woman standing. The strongest wins a car.

Last year, Singaporean Chong Kiat Chi drove home a Subaru Impreza WRX after 75 hours and 36 minutes in the sun and rain. Click here to read all about the feat.

Besides the main draw, non-Singaporean contestants will also compete for three additional titles and cash prizes. A “Country Winner” (longest lasting from each country) takes home S$1,000, while the the last regional contestant will walk away with S$5,000 as the “Asian Winner”. Meanwhile the “Country Team Winner” title offers S$10,000 to the country that holds the longest standing time combined from all ten reps.

Things are slightly different this year. To mark the 11th anniversary of the challenge, there will be an extended break of 11 seconds during the 7pm evening break (contestants get a five-minute break at 1pm, 7pm, 1am and 7am daily for food, drinks, massage and/or toilet).

Understandably, it’s a mad rush to get some solids and fluid in the body, while getting priceless words of encouragement from loved ones. The latter is vital, as after a certain point, this contest is no longer just a physical one, but a mental challenge as well.

Also new for 2012, the last 11 standing will be awarded a “Wild Card”, where they can choose from a list of items such as a drink or an extra break. This will add some “strategy” into the picture, as we will find out later in the game.

Speaking of pictures, live pics of the Subaru Challenge 2012 – The Asian Face-Off are after the jump. We also documented scenes from the 7pm evening break, where I got up close to the contestants, and their not very pleasant odour! No rain so far, but it has been really hot here in the Lion City. Stay tuned for updates.