Team MRF's Gaurav Gill has set his sights on a podium finish in the Brother International Rally of Whangarei, which is the opening round of the 2012 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
Gill is partnered by Australia's Chris Atkinson, who has six podium finishes in the World Rally Championship, and finished runner-up in last year's APRC with Proton.
Gill felt victory would be difficult as he still has to learn about the new Skoda Fabia S2000 that the team will be using.
"This car is a completely different animal to the Mitsubishi we had been using till last year," said Gill. "It's a bit like driving a racing car on a rally stage."
Gill admitted that he was glad to have a car that would allow him to take the fight to last year's runaway winners Proton but felt it would take some time to get fully up to speed.
"The first two rallies of the season will be all about learning the car," he said. "But I will drive hard and try to win."
The Fabia is built according to Super 2000 regulations, which is a departure from the Group N regulations to which the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X was built to.
"I have to unlearn what I know about driving from my time in the Mitsubishi," said Gill. "With this car, you can brake really late into a corner and it responds to even the slightest movement of the steering wheel."
The writer's trip has been sponsored by MRF.