Three inches of concrete ruined Gaurav Gill's chances of winning the Asia Pacific Rally Championship title on Saturday. And a three-foot wide bridge saved his life. Gill's MRF teammate Katsuhiko Taguchi won the championship, though he did not complete the final round either. Gill finished overall second.
Gill could have cruised to the title over the weekend because Taguchi and Pertamina Rally Team's Rifat Sungkar went out of the China rally before him. Gill on 97 points, three behind Taguchi and 28 ahead of Sungkar before the start of this round, needed to finish though.
He didn't because he cut one corner too many, on Special Stage 6, which like many of the stages here had a mixed surface of gravel and concrete.
The car flew off the road and fell on a three-foot wide bridge. "If not for the bridge, we would have probably dropped 20-30 feet," Gill said.
With Gill's wrist injured and Taguchi's co-driver Chris Murphy nursing a badly bruised arm and numerous cuts on his face, MRF decided to pull out both drivers from Sunday's second leg. Gill would have had to finish at least second on the second day to get five points from the leg and overtake Taguchi. Aware of that fact, Taguchi would have ensured he drove if Gill did so too. "Taking into account the damage to the cars and the injuries, we have decided not to let them race tomorrow," MRF team director said.