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Saurabh Duggal, Hindustan Times
Johor Bahru, Malaysia, July 15, 2012
Team MRF driver Gaurav Gill had said before the start of the Malaysian rally that motorsport is 80% luck and 20% talent. Luck ran out for the Indian and he had to bow out because of a mechanical problem. But the saving grace for Team MRF was that their second driver, Chris Atkinson, finished the Malaysian leg of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) here placed overall second. Alastair McRae of Proton won the rally with an aggregate timing of 2hrs 57mins 31.5secs.

"I had to withdraw from the rally due to mechanical trouble in the very first stage today. Had the problem not cropped up, things would have been different and I would have won easily. But I am happy for Atkinson," said Gill. "I still have two races left and hope to make up for the loss," he added.

Overnight rain had made the conditions really tough, but despite that Atkinson, who was placed seventh on Saturday, drove his Skoda Fabia 2000 superbly to clock the best times in five of the seven special stages to finish overall second.

"Last year, I had won in Malaysia and was looking good to defend the title, but a technical glitch pegged me back. I am happy that I bounced back and made it to the podium. Our team is still leading the overall APRC chart and I hope to finish at the top this year," said Atkinson.

(The writer’s trip has been sponsored by MRF)