THE owners of an award-winning Greenock company are in the driving seat for charity after raising more than £12,000 from a 500-mile Indian road race.

Poonam and Puneet Gupta, who run global export firm PG Paper, took part in the three-day ‘Travels to my Elephant’ rally through the state of Rajasthan and reclaimed the crown they won two years ago.

After winning a tuk-tuk race in 2015, the couple this time got behind the wheel of a 45-year-old Jeep which took them through blazing hot deserts and crowded streets along with a fleet of 50 other vehicles to help raise money for a cause close to their hearts.

The duo, who live in Kilmacolm, smashed their sponsorship target and have generated over £12,600 for UK charity Elephant Family, which helps protect the endangered Asian species of the animal.

Two years ago they encountered a series of high-speed blow-outs and near-misses and there was plenty of drama again en route to the finish line of the 2017 rally.

Poonam, the chief executive of PG Paper, told the Tele: “There’s no adventure without scary moments.

“We had something very funny happen this time when we broke down in the middle of nowhere.

“That was day two and Puneet was driving – I think he went a bit too much on the accelerator.

“On day three I was driving and we were way ahead of everyone else so we stopped at the tea stall and then the car wouldn’t start up again so I gathered a group of about 10 local men and they pushed the car and jump-started it.

“It was so bizarre for them, they weren’t sure if that would work.

“The tea cost us.”

Despite the setbacks along the way, the Guptas managed to top the table and also exceeded the £10,000 sponsorship total they raised in 2015 to help Asian elephants, which have reduced in number by 90 per cent in the last 100 years.

Poonam said: “We finished first and behind us was another Scottish team from the Wood Group, so it was great to have both the Scottish teams in the top two.

“We were trying hard flying the flag of Scotland and India.

“We’ve had donations from all over the world, China, Japan, Indian, American and Austria.

“A lot of companies we work with supported us, plus friends

and family and even people who are unknown to us.

“We’re very pleased with how much has been raised, people have been extremely generous.”

Donations can still be made online at