‘WRC is my ultimate goal’

M. PERIASAMY

Gaurav Gill shares his thoughts on rallying, his association with MRF, the APRC and his plans for the future.

Gaurav Gill, who has put India on the world rallying map with his exceptional driving skills, has been the shining light for Team MRF in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championships (APRC).

In an e-mail interview to Sportstar, Gill sheds light on rallying, his association with MRF, the APRC and his plans for the future.

His best achievement:

Beating some of the best drivers in the world (Chris Atkinson, P. G. Andersson, Alister McRae, Katsuhiko Taguchi, Cody Crocker and Lappi) in the last two years, despite driving the Skoda only six times a year, has been a tremendous feeling. I don’t have regular access to the car as our budget allows only six rallies a year.

On seven and going strong...

It has been a wonderful seven-year journey with MRF. I am proud to say that the tyres I use are all made in India and I am able to match and beat some of the finest drivers on some of the best tyres money can buy. It has been a wonderful seven-year journey with MRF.

On team-mate and competitor:

Lappi is considered to be one of the finest rally drivers currently and I can’t ask for a stronger team-mate. I have been pushing hard to match him and beat him and that makes me a better driver. Although he drives the Skoda almost every 15 days and I get it only six to seven times a year, my performance has been noted and appreciated by the team.

On his fitness regime:

We have to drive for over 12 hours a day and I have a ‘Cross-Fit’ training programme to keep me going because we need to have a really strong core as our back can take a lot of beating while the car is airborne and lands hard at times. I often lose five to seven kgs during the two days of rallying despite drinking over 20 litres of water every day!

About the car and the races so far:

The MRF-Skoda is one of the finest rally cars ever built. It is not a production car and is custom-built for rallying. The victory at New Caledonia was great, but the ‘Did Not Finish’ in Australia was a disaster. It was sheer bad luck. The next race in Malaysia is crucial as I will get back the lead if I win there.

His ultimate goal:

The World Rally Championship (WRC) is my ultimate goal and I am always trying hard to get in there. It is always going to be difficult as it requires huge funding. The VW Polo has been the car with most wins at the moment and it’s the obvious choice.

P. Srinivas Aditya