Coffee Day India Rally: Gill wins APRC title

Gaurav Gill of Team MRF, driving a Skoda Fabia R5, swept to his sixth-successive APRC rally win. He was ahead of the second-placed Michael Young by 11 minutes and 32.4 seconds in the Coffee Day India Rally.

gaurav gill

Gaurav Gill signals his sixth-successive APRC rally win. He's the first rallyist to win all APRC events in a year.   -  Special Arrangement

Three days and 225.25 km of dirt track later, Gaurav Gill laid hands on his second FIA-Asia Pacific Rally Championship title here on Monday evening in emphatic style.

The 35-year-old Indian of Team MRF, driving a Skoda Fabia R5, swept to his sixth-successive APRC rally win. He was ahead of the second-placed Michael Young by 11 minutes and 32.4 seconds in the Coffee Day India Rally, organised by the Motor Sports Club of Chikkamagaluru.

Gill is the first rallyist to win all APRC events in a year.

"It's amazing. I actually never thought about it," he said referring to the APRC winning run. "It was a very difficult championship. It's incredibly tough as the cars are so fast and the slightest mistake can result in a crash. I always thought Malaysia was tough but this turned out to be even tougher."

The title run started in April with a win in the Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand. But Gill seemed most happy to have won in front of home fans.

"Even though I won the championship, the Chikkamagaluru rally was the most important event for me and for my team. Now it is weight off my shoulder.

"I hope the six out of six wins this season does something good for the sport."

Winning everything in sight can leave one exhausted and may even lead to a drop in motivation in future. But not Gill. "I love what I am doing and preparations have already started for the next year. I have plans to drive in Europe."

Gill’s long-time partner Glenn MacNeall clinched the co-driver’s title while MRF took the team championship. Skoda pouched the manufacturer’s crown.

Meanwhile, mechanical issues put paid to Mahindra Adventure’s overnight leader Amittrajit Ghosh’s title aspirations in the MRF FMSCI Indian Rally Championship. Karna Kadur of Team Yokohama 2K finished ahead of Bikku Babu and Rahul Kanthraj.

Kadur also topped the INRC 2000 category for the second time this season while Sanjay Takale won the IRC class.

Jacob K. J. (with co-driver Manoj Mohanan) chalked up his fourth consecutive win in the FMSCI Cup to bag the championship with a round to spare.

The results (provisional, after Leg-2):

APRC: 1. Gaurav Gill / Glenn Macneall (Team MRF) (3hrs, 39mins, 37.9secs); 2. Mike Young / Malcolm Read (Cusco Racing) (3:51:10.3); 3. Sanjay Takale / Noriko Takeshita (Cusco Racing) (4:03:51.0).

IRC: 1. Takale / Takeshita (1:48:59.2); 2. Ritesh M. Guttedar / Sheeraz Ahmed (2:01:12.3); 3. Byram Godrej / Ninad Mirajgaonkar (2:02:47.5).

INRC Overall and INRC 2000: 1. Karna Kadur / Nikhil Pai (Team Yokohama 2K) (1:52:15.9); 2. Bikku Babu / Milen George (1:53:31.4); 3. Rahul Kantharaj / Vivek Bhatt (Team Yokohama 2K) (1:55:27.6).

FMSCI Cup: 1. Jacob K.J. / Manoj Mohanan (2:01:14.8); 2. Michu Ganapathy / Venu Ramesh Kumar (2:01:25.8); 3. Fabid Ahmer / Arjun Dheerendra (2:06:06.7).