Racer Gaurav Gill here on Sunday put in a mature performance to win the Whangarei International Rally ahead of Germany’s Fabian Kreim to lead a 1-2 finish for Team MRF-SKODA and start the 2016 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) season in great style.
It was the ninth victory for the 34-year old Delhi-based Gill in the APRC series and second in New Zealand following his triumph here in 2014.
Driving the Race Torque-prepared Skoda Fabia R5 car with controlled aggression, Gill, with Australian Glenn Macneall as his co-driver, shrugged off the overnight 4.6-second deficit to Kreim and eventually won by 30.4 seconds despite problems with the turbo following a leak in the actuator during the first of the two loops of the three Special Stages.
After replacing the part during the service break, Gill pushed just enough to maintain his lead over Kreim (co-driver Frank Christian) for a deserving victory.
Gill began the day that saw spells of rain and intermittent drizzle, by making 23.3 seconds over Kreim in the very first Special Stage won by Kiwi hope Mike Young who eventually finished a distant third behind the two MRF-SKODA duo.
Gill, who won two of the six Special Stages on Sunday, was pleased as punch with his overall performance, but pointed that he was still learning the finer points of the Fabia R5 that he was driving for the first time.