Gill goes for the kill
The ex-APRC champ begins 2016 with a bang in New Zealand
After stewards’ inquiry and investigation of the incident between Gill and Young, the Indian got the decision going in his favour and was given five seconds of his lost time back. This meant that he led the rally on Saturday morning.
Saturday was challenging for Gill as being the first car to be flagged off it was his job of “sweeping” the roads with the terrain being on the rougher side due to lack of rains. That caused an extra strain on his tyres and eventually lead to a puncture. This meant he lost his 41-second lead over teammate Fabian Kreim and had to finish the day 4.6 seconds behind him.
Gill managed to overturn the deficit in the first stage on Sunday itself by completing the course 23.3 seconds faster than his German teammate. A leaking actuator in the turbocharger during stages 12 and 13 made him lose considerable time to Kreim and with just three stages left he had a lead of only 9.3 seconds. The issue was fixed post stage 13, where service time was enabled.
At the end, Gill’s knowledge of the rally and his determination helped him churn out 20 seconds on Kreim in the final three timed sections, to win the rally by 29.3 seconds. The win puts Gill and co-driver Glenn MacNeall firmly in charge of the APRC driver’s and co-driver’s championship and with Kreim and his co-driver Frank Christian completing the team MRF-Skoda 1-2, the team looks all set to retain their constructor crown.
“Obviously, I am extremely happy that I won today. Every win is special and today, after overcoming the overnight deficit, I opened a sizeable lead over Fabian and thereafter, my intention was to nurse it to the finish. The weather also changed overnight and we had to cope with it. Overall, I drove about 80-85 per cent to my potential since I am learning the new car and get the setup right as it was prepared for Rally of Finland. From now on, I have to be consistent and keep scoring points,” said an ecstatic Gill. ⌧