Team MRF ended the Australian leg of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship on a high with both its cars making it to the podium on Sunday.

Indian Gaurav Gill (co-driver Glenn Mcneall) finished second while Katsuhiko Taguchi (Mark Stacey) reversed their fortunes to finish third.

The big winner on the day, surprisingly and controversially, was the duo of Mark Higgins and Ieuan Thomas of the Soueast Motor Kumho Team.

Sitting on fourth after Saturday's action, and 14 seconds off the pace, nobody could have quite predicted the first place finish.

Tyre switch

But Sunday brought with it a fresh change of tyres. The team made the call to switch from its own tyre manufacturer Kumho, to the internationally acclaimed Pirelli brand.

The result was all too obvious. Higgins was unstoppable from there on in, and finished top in 5 out of the seven stages on Sunday. Gill topped the other two. Though a change of tyres in between the rally is not illegal, such a radical change to the setup of the car and the disloyalty to the team's own tyre manufacturer came as quite a surprise to many.

Gaurav Gill, defending champion at this circuit was also disappointed at the way things turned out.

This result makes it the second podium finish for Gill this season after his second spot at the Malaysian circuit. The Indian is now at the top of the APRC leader board.

Taguchi, who did not finish the Malaysian event and was looking for a turn of tides here, got off to a slow start in the morning, finishing fifth and fourth in the day's first two stages. He clawed in the seconds later on in the day to make it to a comfortable third place, four minutes ahead o f the chasing pack.

Malaysian manufacturer Proton Motorsports and its star driver on Saturday, Alister McRae, flattered to deceive and a series of a string of poor stages saw the Scotsman finish at fourth.

The results: 1. Mark Higgins (Soueast Motor Kumho Team) 2:22.14.2s; 2. Gaurav Gill (MRF) 2:22:30.0; 3. Katsuhiko Taguchi (MRF) 2:23:23.8; 4. Alister McRae (Proton) 2:27:59.6; 5. Rifat Sungkar (Pertamina Cusco) 2:28:17.8.

APRC driver standings (provisional): 1. Gaurav Gill, 53 points; 2. Alister McRae, 41; 3. Mark Higgins 39; 4. Chris Atkinson 33.

More In: Motorsport | Sport