Gaurav Gill excited about the new long jumps in his life

Gill, the country’s finest rally driver ever, came up with some of the longest jumps of his life during the World Rally Championship-2 round in Finland recently, and it produced a range of emotions.

Gaurav Gill, India's finest rally driver ever, will be in action in the Indian National Rally Championship's final round which begins in Kerala on Saturday.   -  Stan Rayan

Gaurav Gill is famed for his aggressive driving and now he is trying to master the fine art of long jumping.

Long jumping with a car!

Gill, India’s finest rally driver ever, came up with some of the longest jumps of his life during the World Rally Championship-2 round in Finland recently, and it produced a range of emotions.

“In Finland, the car literally flies for every other jump, sometimes for up to 50m! My jump record was 49-plus in one of the jumps there,” said Gill, who drove in five rounds of the WRC-2 this year, in a chat with The Hindu here on Thursday.

Shock and excitement

“Before I had probably done 10m or 15m jumps. In Finland, I was doing five times that distance. Imagine spending so much time in the air. And when you are in the air at 170km speed, it’s a mixture of shock and excitement.

“And you turn the car in the air and if you don’t do it properly, you will end up crashing. So, there is fear factor too because if you don’t position the car correctly, you don’t get a second chance.”

The WRC-2 is a support championship to the full FIA World Rally Championship and the 37-year-old Team MRF Tyres star joined the series midway as part of a developmental programme.

Help of local coach

Finland is one of WRC’s toughest rounds and hence Gill hired a local coach to help him out.

“That helped me massively because there are a lot of blind curves and very fast roads there,” said Gill, who is in Kochi for the MRF-FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship’s final round which officially begins at Kuttikanam, Idukki district, on Saturday.

The WRC stages are all very long. “You are constantly doing extremely high speeds for such a long time and that is the biggest difference when you compare the WRC with the Asia Pacific (APRC) or our national rallies,” said the Delhi-based star.

Gill went into the WRC-2 with very little experience at that level. “The guys I drive against do at least 25 rallies a year. I do about six maximum,” he added.

Still, he did impressively. “In Finland, Wales and in Australia, I won stages. In Australia, I was leading in 11 of the 15 stages outright. In Finland, I did top-10 times and in Italy, I was once the fourth fastest,” he said.

“That shows I belong there. I feel I can win the World Championship, and on MRF Tyres, some day.”