Coffee Day India Rally: Gill gains early advantage

The Delhi-based star, who was on a Skoda Fabia R5, stopped the clock at 02:17.77s and it was one better than Veiby's 02:17.99.

Gaurav Gill in action during the Super Special Stage of the FIA APRC at Chikmagalur on Friday.

Defending champion Gaurav Gill (co-driver Stephane Prevot) kicked up a lot of dust and with it some interest for the spectators as he gained a slight edge over Team MRF mate Ole Christian Veiby (Stig Skgarmoen) in the Super Special Stage of the Coffee Day India Rally 2017, the final round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship at the Amber Valley Residential School here on Friday.

The Delhi-based star, who was on a Skoda Fabia R5, stopped the clock at 02:17.77s and it was one better than Veiby's 02:17.99. Earlier, it was the young Veiby from Norway who topped the shakedown timings. It must have put some pressure on the Indian star and, it clearly reflected on his face, which otherwise is filled with confidence and cheer.

"There's no pressure. Actually, I am trying to be calm," said Gill, who is facing a tight fight for the title after quite a few years.

One cannot blame Gill as well because he gets to drive only a very few rallies in a year unlike Veiby, who has been rallying around the world. But Gill wants to put that behind and sign off from the championship on a merry note. "I am determined to do that," he said.

He proved that as well with his stunning drive in the 2.1km circuit much to the delight of the crowd.

In the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship, Younis Ilyas (Harish Kumar) was the quickest overall followed by Arjun Rao (Satish Rajagopal) and Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik) of Team Mahindra Adventure.

The results (SSS, provisional):

FIA APRC:

1. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF) 02:17.7s; 2. Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjarmoen (Team MRF) 02:17.9; 3. P. G. Abhilash / Srikant Gowda (Team R3A PGA Motorsports) 02:30.5.

MRF FMSCI INRC: (Overall):

1. Younis Ilyas / Harish Kumar 02:35.7; 2. Arjun Rao / Satish Rajagopal (Volkswagen Polo R2) 02:36.2; 3. Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Mahindra Adventure) 02:36.6.