Awards and accolades have become a part of India’s top rally driver Gaurav Gill life. But this one was special. The five-time National Rally champion and winner of two Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) titles received the “motorsports person of the year award” from none other than the international motorsports federation (FIA) chief Jean Todt at a function late last week in Hyderabad .
It was a day to cherish for the 35-year-old driver --- whose spectacular form saw him win all five rounds of the APRC in 2016 --- as he received the Raymond Gautam Singhania Trophy from Todt, who had especially flown into India for the event.
Making his intentions clear that he still has a lot of rallying left in him even at the age of 35, Gill, who has two more such trophies in his cabinet, said, he was looking forward to amassing many more such trophies.
The recently-elected Federation of Motor Sports Club of India (FMSCI) president Akbar Ebrahim informed that as many as 350 tournaments were held in 2016, making India the third-most active motor sporting country in Asia.” Ebrahim also said that a “new wing” for women had been commissioned “to empower them to race in various disciplines, including motocross, drag racing and rallying”.
Jean Todt, the architect of Ferrari F1 team’s success story, when asked if F1 could return to India in the near future, said it was not for the FIA to decide. “The promoters of F1 will have to take a call. I have a lot of respect for India having built an International standard F1 circuit. But, it’s a shame that we don’t have many international circuit-racing in India. It is not only F1 but a lot of Endurance Championship and many other international events can be conducted. I hope India can host international events like Formula E.”