TEAM MRF DRIVER GAURAV GILL CROWNED FIA APRC CHAMPION ON DAY 1 OF RALLY CHINA
Gill becomes first Indian to win APRC Title
November 2: Indian driver Gaurav Gill created history by becoming the first Indian to win the 2013 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship title after finishing Day 1 of the Rally of China at the wheel of his Team MRF ŠKODA Fabia S2000. Title rival and team-mate Esapekka Lappi was leading at the end of Day 1 with Gill in second place. Gill, with Australian co-driver, Glenn Macneall, only had to finish the rally to secure his first APRC title, while Lappi is in a position to move up to second in the championship, having finished second in the S2000 category at the recent Sanremo Rally in Italy.
Gill's team-mate lads Esapekka Lappi from Finland leads the event by 4 minutes. There's still one day to go, before the finish when Gill and the team can celebrate on the APRC podium. Gill suffered a puncture which cost him 2-3 minutes but managed to get back in the rally.
Team MRF Driver Gaurav Gill (India), 2013 FIA APRC Champion commented “This is definitely the high-light of my career so far, we've come close on several other occasions and this year wasn't easy either. I have to thank the team, my co-driver Glenn (Macneall), Skoda and a big thank you to MRF tyres too as they've stuck with me all these years and so it's nice to reward them and my country. We stopped and changed it loosing 2-3 minutes, but the main thing is to get it the car back here.”
TEAM MRF SKODA DRIVER GAURAV GILL TAKES APRC TITLE IN CHINA
TEAM MRF TAKES TEAMS’ TITLE SUCCESS FOLLOWING DOMINANT SEASON
November 3: Indian Team MRF ŠKODA driver Gaurav Gill won the 2013 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship after finishing in second place on China Rally Longyou. This is the first time that an Indian driver on Indian tyres has won the coveted FIA APRC title. Driving for Team MRF ŠKODA alongside navigator Glenn Macneall, Gill finished runner-up to team-mates Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm in his Fabia Super 2000. He could have challenged for victory had he not lost approximately three minutes stopping to change a puncture on stage six.
Gill’s title triumph is the second in a row for the Race Torque Engineering-run Team MRF operation following Chris Atkinson’s success in 2012. ŠKODA has successfully defended its APRC Manufacturers’ crown, while Team MRF ŠKODA is the winner of the APRC Teams’ award ahead of Cusco Racing of Japan.
Team MRF Driver Gaurav Gill (India), 2013 FIA APRC Champion commented “It’s an amazing feeling and the biggest triumph of my career. We have been trying to make this happen for a few years but we've always had some issue or another every time. But this year has been good, we've had ŠKODA with our MRF team and perfect tyres that MRF made for us. I'm really excited, not just me, it’s for the whole team and back home I'm sure even for our country”
Gill, 31, has enjoyed a hugely successful APRC season in 2013 with victories in New Caledonia and Japan and second-place finishes in New Zealand and China.
Meanwhile, Lappi’s first place in China marked his third victory of 2013. However, non-scores in New Caledonia, Malaysia and Japan ruled him out of the title fight, although his win in China means he finishes runner-up to Gill in the final standings.
“We're really happy,” said ŠKODA Motorsport’s Pavel Hortek. “We fulfilled what we planned to do at the beginning of the season, to win again all the championships in both categories. My thanks to the winning crew Garav Gill and Glenn Macneall. This is very important for them, especially for Gaurav who deserves very much to finally win the APRC after trying for so many years.”
India’s Sanjay Takale, the APRC Production Cup champion, finishes third in the final table for Subaru with New Zealander Michael Young claiming an impressive fourth overall. Young is also the winner of the APRC Junior Cup driving a Toyota Vitz.
China Rally Longyou once again lived up to its reputation as one of the most challenging events on the APRC calendar. Based in the Zhejiang province in eastern China, 400 kilometres from Shanghai, the stages use a mixture of gravel and concrete roads. But with rain falling, drivers reported the concrete sections were extremely slippery. They also faced two rock-strewn mountain stages, while brake problems and a spin for Lappi on Saturday morning added to the drama.
FIA APRC RESULTS (after 13 special stages, 230.92 kilometres):
1. Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) ŠKODA Fabia S2000 3h01m46.9s
2. Gaurav Gill (IND)/Glenn Macneall (NZL) ŠKODA Fabia S2000 +5m37.4s
CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS (after 6/6 rounds, full standings at www.fiaaprc.com):*
APRC Drivers’ champion: Gaurav Gill
APRC Co-drivers’ champion: Glenn Macneall
APRC Manufacturers’ champion: ŠKODA
APRC Teams’ champion: Team MRF ŠKODA
APRC Production Cup champion: Sanjay Takale
APRC Junior Cup champion: Michael Young
APRC 2WD champion: Michael Young