Gill emerges fastest in Shakedown

The fourth round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship gets underway here on Saturday with eight Special Stages to be covered on the first day.

The rally is contested over 301.9km broken into 16 Special Stages. It has possibly one of the longest stretches covering a distance of 40.63km, each in Special Stages called Bull 1 and 2. The driver who can come out unscathed in Bull 1 and 2 — in terms of endurance and keeping the car going — has possibly the best chance to be on top.

In the Shakedown held on Friday, it was a wet start, just as predicted. There were intermittent spells of rain which had rendered the entire stretch slippery. Team MRF's Gaurav Gill (co-driver Glen MacNeal) in a Mitsubishi Evo X was the fastest with a timing of 50.2 seconds. Proton's Chris Atkins (Stephane Prevot), who leads the APRC points table, clocked 50.7.

Tough to drive

Gill had said before the Shakedown that it was probably one of the toughest rallies to drive in. “But at least it doesn't get slushy even if it rains,” said the Indian.

Team MRF's other driver Katsuhiko Taguchi, as the defending champion, gets to start first. Asked whether he had any advantage starting first, Taguchi said: “I think being the first car on the road will be better tomorrow than when it's dry. So being first is important to me but I will have to make some big changes to the set-up of the car for this rally. That is something I will have to check.”

At the media briefing held later in the day, Gill said: “Well it's a long rally, it's going to be wet so it's definitely going to be a lottery I think, and it's important to see where you are after the first few stages, or maybe after the first loop.

“Because we are tied up (on points) with (Alister) McRae and Chris (Atkinson) is about 10 points up, we have to play it smart and play a waiting game while being as fast as we can.”

Well, playing it smart is easier said than done. Team MRF will be hoping that the talented Gill does well and jumps to the top of the points table.

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Printable version | Mar 25, 2020 4:07:43 PM |

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