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Gill well prepared for the Turkey test

Looking ahead: Gaurav Gill, second right, along with officials from JK Tyre at the function to announce his plans for the FIA World Rally Championship 2.

Looking ahead: Gaurav Gill, second right, along with officials from JK Tyre at the function to announce his plans for the FIA World Rally Championship 2.  

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With the prestigious Arjuna Award in his hand, India’s most-celebrated rally driver Gaurav Gill will rev it up further when he takes on the best in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC-2), the Rally of Turkey, next week.

“I am even more hungry after I got the Arjuna Award. I want to show the world that despite various limitations, Indians can do better given their dedication and commitment,” Gill told The Hindu from Delhi.

The JK Tyre supported driver said it’s not going to be a delightful journey as the the rally is known to be notorious for its roughness. “It’s one of the roughest in the world. The rough and the high speed can be a lethal combination and, the cars don’t like it,” he said.

But the three-time APRC champion is still confident of a strong finish. “It’s going to be hot and humid but I believe it’s a level playing field as the conditions are similar in India. I am keeping myself fit as usual and I am hoping to be finish among the top five.”

Acclimatising

Interestingly, Gill has been doing a lot of running in the afternoons and going through sauna sessions to get used to the condition.

The Delhi star will be driving a 1.6 Turbo R5 developed by M-Sport. “It’s a brand new car and I will be testing it the whole day through on September 9 in Turkey. It’s not an ideal amount of practise but I am prepared,” he said.

Gill had taken part in four rallies — Italy, Finland, Wales and Australia last year as an unregistered driver. He won 11 stages despite facing challenges, underlining his prowess and skill at the top level. But, this time around, he will be competing as a registered driver for the first time and will be picking up championship points.

The best

Sanjay Sharma, head of motorsport JK Tyre, was equally confident of Gill delivering the goods. “He has got the best team, the best car and the best technical package and above all we have the best driver. We shortlisted this event as it best suits him. We have made a good choice and I know for sure that he will give his 200 per cent.”

“I have worked with Gill briefly last year and it’s great to be able to continue that collaboration with him again this year. He is a talented driver with a lot of potential and we’re all looking forward to seeing how he progresses in the championship,” said Richard Millener, the team principal.

Feted

Later, Gill was felicitated by JK Tyre Motorsport for his Arjuna Award. The company’s marketing director Vikram Malhotra congratulated the champion, declaring the award as a watershed moment for Indian motorsport.

“This will change the way all stakeholders will look at Indian motorsport. Youngsters can hope for brighter prospects in the sport as schools and colleges will acknowledge Gaurav’s recognition and will treat it at par with any other sport,” said Mr. Sanjay.

The Rally of Turkey will see the drivers cover a total distance of over 988.50 kms with 310.10 kms earmarked for 17 special stages.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 1:57:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/gill-well-prepared-for-the-turkey-test/article29353898.ece

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