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India’s Gill stars for MRF in alien territory

other Updated: Aug 02, 2010 01:24 IST
Anupma Tripathi
Anupma Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Despite leading the pack on Day 1 of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship in Queensland, India's Gaurav Gill wasn't sure if he would be able to hold on to the lead for long.

But with Proton driver, Alister McRae, crashing out on the 11th Stage following an engine failure on the final day, Gill sensed the opportunity and surged ahead with a margin of 1.16.00 seconds to win his second APRC title. His first title came in Indonesia in 2008.

It was the third victory for Team MRF this season.

"I am surprised," said Gill after the win.

"I never thought I would ever win the Australia leg. The Proton guys were favourites. The Proton cars are ideally suited for the fast stages of Australia. They are lighter and faster in such stages. Here they had no reason to lose. I think it wasn't their day."

The Indian outpaced a field studded with World Rally Championship stars like Chris Atkinson, McRae, and even his illustrious teammate, the 1999 champion, Katsuhiko Taguchi.

Gill had entered the second day with a slender lead of 4.8 seconds.

"I didn't want to squander the lead due to silly mistakes on the final day. I kept my car clean and concentrated more on technique than speed," he said.

He was helped by the fact that McRae, just like Atkinson the day before, crashed out.

So what's next for Gill?

"Next is the second round of the Indian National Rally Championship in Coimbatore that takes place the next weekend. Till then, I have time to relax," said Gill.