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Gaurav Gill puts on commendable performance in Rally of Otago, goes down fighting on final day due to Suspension issues




Arjuna awardee and JK Tyre’s Gaurav Gill supported by VM Sports Foundation showcased a strong performance in the Rally of Otago ( promoted by Vamcy Merla ) , securing a top 3 finish on day 1. He maintained his third position consistently until stage 10. However, an unexpected challenge in stage 11 forced him to withdraw from the race.

The Otago Rally is amongst the most historic rally events in the world and has been held every year since 1976. This year, the rally has drawn a field of 117 cars, the largest in four years. A customary mix of challenging sections comprise the 16 special stages that make up the rally. Over 144 km of competitive stages, the contestants demonstrated their driving prowess on Saturday. On Sunday, another 130 kilometres of stages was driven.

Gaurav Gill and his New Zealand-based co-driver, Jared Hudson, were piloting a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car when, at the 7.2km mark in Special Stage 11 (SS11), the car hit a pothole, damaging the suspension. Despite their attempts to fix the car, the duo was forced to withdraw from the race. Apart from this technical setback, Gill demonstrated strong performance throughout the rally, showcasing his dedication to the sport.

The Otago Rally is amongst the most historic rally events in the world and has been held every year since 1976. This was Gill’s first time competing at the Otago Rally, which with its stages made up of fast, flowing open public roads, blind brows as well as gravel strewn sections, offers a unique challenge. Gaurav is the three-time winner of the Rally of Whangarei, which also takes place in New Zealand.

Day One:

Arjuna awardee and JK Tyre’s Gaurav Gill supported by VM Sports Foundation put himself in the battle for the win with a top-three placing at the end of the opening day of the Otago Rally in New Zealand.

Piloting 2022 APRC champion and 10-time Otago Rally winner Haydon Paddon’s Hyundai i20 N Rally2 machine, Gill and his New-Zealand based co-driver Jared Hudson were third on the timesheets, a little over 30 seconds behind overall leader Jack Hawkeswood and 11 seconds adrift of second-placed Robbie Stokes.

On day one, the drivers navigated through eight special stages. Gill lost fifteen seconds on stage 5 due to an error, but the triple-APRC champion offered proof of his outright speed by winning stages 4, 7 and 8.

Gaurav Gill said“It has been a very unique experience; the super-fast stages are so distinct and varied from one another that I would describe them as extremely fast. I have never driven this fast before. We had a pretty good start in the morning stages, and now we're trying to become better at maintaining our rhythm on the trickier parts. We are up against cars more powerful than ours. That makes a difference, and the settings are ideal for them. We are happy with our performance today and will try to replicate the same tomorrow, ensuring a podium finish.”

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