Gill goes for the kill

The ex-APRC champ be­gins 2016 with a bang in New Zealand

Evo India - - MOTOR SPORT - Words by: Je­han Adil Darukhanawala Pho­tog­ra­phy by: Anand Phi­lar

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. ⌧

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