It was a mixed day for Team MRF at the International Rally of Queensland on Saturday.
The showers stayed away and on a rather cold yet lovely morning, Christopher Atkinson took a handy 1.44 second lead over Proton Motor Sports competitor Alister McRae.
For Gaurav Gill, however, it turned out to be a gloomy day as he had to retire after the fourth stage due to an electrical glitch.
A thoroughly devastated Gill, who was leading till then, rued the missed chance. “I had a good advantage and was very confident that I could beat Atkinson on his home ground,” said Gill.
Frantic efforts by the engineers to set things right within the time frame failed. Gill will now run on Sunday to just garner some bonus points. “Atkinson will now open up a big lead in the table,” said a distraught Gill, who had even weathered a puncture in the second stage of this Pacific leg of the Asia-PacificRally championship.
Atkinson, for his part, was well in control of the tricky stages. “Overnight rains had rendered some parts wet while some were dry. This made driving difficult,” he said.
Setting a good pace, Gill enjoyed a cushion of about 3.4 seconds by the fourthstage. “By then the electrical problem had surfaced and we were losing speed,” Gill said.
Proton's McRae, who was fourth for most part of the rally, moved past teammate Pergunnar Anderson in the eighth stage. Brian Green of Brian Green Motorsport Ltd., driving a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, made up time towards the final stages to stay in the third spot.
Top placings (provisional): 1. Christopher Atkinson (MRF), 2. Alister McRae (Proton), 3. Brian Green (Brian Green Motorsport Ltd.).
Keywords: Team MRF