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Gaurav Gill to drive in World Rally Championship 2 with Team MRF

Gaurav Gill and Team MRF will take the World Rally Championship 2 (WRC 2) plunge in Italy, at the Rally Italia Sardegna, to be held from June 7-10, joining in the seventh round of the championship as the plan is to play it a little conservative this time, making sure they don’t stretch their resources.

other sports Updated: Apr 16, 2018 16:29 IST
Leslie Xavier
Leslie Xavier
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Gaurav Gill,Team MRF,World Rally Championship
Team MRF announced they will compete in the World Rally Championship 2 (WRC 2) -- the second rung global competition -- and Gaurav Gill, who drove them to three Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) titles, will spearhead their challenge. (HT Photo)

Indian rally ace Gaurav Gill has lost track of the number of national titles he has won, and understandably so. Gill has captured three Asian Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) titles as well, the only competition where he felt the field kept him on his toes.

The 36-year-old, who is miles ahead of his competitors in Asia, has always craved to rub shoulders with the best in the world and prove his worth. Gill will finally get a chance to showcase his talent on the big stage, at the World Championship.

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Team MRF announced they will compete (debut) in the World Rally Championship 2 (WRC 2) -- the second rung global competition -- and Gill, who drove them to three APRC titles, will spearhead their challenge in what would be a big step up for the driver as well as the Indian tyre manufacturer.

Gill and Team MRF will take the WRC 2 plunge in Italy, at the Rally Italia Sardegna, to be held from June 7-10. They are joining in the seventh round of the championship as the plan is to play it a little conservative this time, making sure they don’t stretch their resources too much -- both financially and tyre technology wise.

They have decided to compete in just gravel rallies this year. Gill would have a truncated season -- there are only five gravel rallies in the championship after Italy -- but the Indian will gladly take it. After all, this is the break he was always waiting for and is confident to make the best out of it.

NEW CAR IN YEAR OF LEARNING

MRF has a rich tradition in rallying -- having competed and won in the national championships as well as the Asia Pacific competition for many years. But the step up onto the world stage is a steep one and Gill, while talking about the strategy ahead, revealed the team would go into this season (which has already begun) with a mission to learn and develop.

Gaurav Gill confirmed he won’t be driving the Skoda R5 in which he and Team MRF won three Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) titles. (HT Photo)

“It is obviously a big step up. We are race in the R5 category of WRC 2 and the competition is world class where we will be running shoulders with a lot of established teams,” said Gill about WRC 2, which is run alongside the top-tier world championship (WRC) rallies, albeit in production cars.

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That would mean GIll will drive on the same stages as the big boys. To say it would be tough is an understatement. Besides, Gill will have to deal with an additional variable. He confirmed he won’t be driving the Skoda R5 in which he won his three APRC titles.

“I will be driving a new car, talks are on with manufacturers and the car will be finalised soon,” said Gill, whose last outing in Europe was in 2008 when he competed in a couple of rounds of the Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) with Team Sidvin India.

First Published: Apr 16, 2018 16:28 IST