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Gill lasts to finish first

Taking the lead on the final day of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship of Rallye de Nouvelle-Calédonie after teammate and Saturday's leader Chris Atkinson faced severe electrical issues and lost seven minutes, the 30-year-old from Delhi with co-driver Glenn MacNeall clocked 02:52:35.9 to grab their first win this season. Sharmistha Chaudhuri reports. At the end of it all...

india Updated: Apr 30, 2012 01:14 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Team-MRF-s-Gaurav-Gill-R-and-Glenn-MacNeall-HT-photo
Team-MRF-s-Gaurav-Gill-R-and-Glenn-MacNeall-HT-photo

Nothing can taste as sweet as victory. After a gruelling 19 stages spanning over three days amidst the plush vegetation and rough mining terrain of New Caledonia, Team MRF's Gaurav Gill tasted the sweet nectar.

Taking the lead on the final day of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship of Rallye de Nouvelle-Calédonie after teammate and Saturday's leader Chris Atkinson faced severe electrical issues and lost seven minutes, the 30-year-old from Delhi with co-driver Glenn MacNeall clocked 02:52:35.9 to grab their first win this season.

"Though this is my fourth major win, the victory here is the most special," Gill exclaimed after an exhausting Sunday. The reason? "Because I was up against some of the best drivers in the world and driving a left-hand which I'm still getting used to." The 18-year-old Mercedes Benz sedan he has started driving at home to get ready for rallies has paid rich dividends indeed!http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/4/30_04_pg-18b.jpg

MRF in the lead
It was an even sweeter moment for Team MRF after Atkinson pushed himself and his Skoda Fabia S2000 to grab the second spot with 02:57:28.1. Thus, after two APRC rounds, Team MRF drivers lead the over-all standing with Atkinson in first, followed by Gill.

New Zealand's Brian Green and co-driver Fleur Pedersen finished third with 03:08:21.6.

For Gill, this victory couldn't come at a better time. Having become a father 10 days earlier, he dedicated this win to young Aaryan. "I can't wait to go back to him," he said smiling. So what made the difference? "All teams had problems but the cars that had good stage finishes could go ahead. It also proves how good our tyres are. Team MRF can't wait for the next four rallies."

With an aim to win his maiden APRC championship after losing out two years ago, Gill is charged up for the next event — Rally Queensland from May 26, Atkinson's home race. "It would be sweet to win at home but in a rally one never knows," the Aussie chipped in.

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