Gaurav Gill's day followed the ebbs and flows of the course as the Indian driver settled for the third spot at the close of Day One of the second round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in Caloundra, Queensland.
Team MRF's Gill, who had won the rally last year to record his first APRC win, won four stages on Saturday - the most on the day - but had to come to grips with car trouble as he screeched down the tricky gravel track. His time of 1:16:20 was superseded by Proton's Alister McRae (1:16:10.6) and local lad Nathan Quinn (1:16:18.8), representing Coffs Coast Rally.
Starting the day placed fourth, the Indian faced brake problem on the Special Stage Four. "One of the screws on the calliper opened and flushed out the brake oil, so we had no brakes at all."
He quickly put that behind, winning the next three stages. Finishing the first leg of the rally placed second, Gill dropped time in the Super Special Stages in the night, held on tarmac as Quinn sneaked into second.
The Protons, MRF's biggest rivals, were being sidelined. Their number one driver Chris Atkinson dropped out due to electrical failure, while McRae fell to 12th when his car's engine stalled on the first stage itself.
But McRae made sure the Malaysian team had at least one driver still in the running as he wrested back the top spot after Special Stage 10.
Standings: McRae (Proton) 1:16:10.6; Quinn (Coffs Coast Rally) 1:16:18.8; Gill (MRF): 1:16:20.0.