Japan APRC: Gill takes lead in Rally Hokkaido
India's Gaurav Gill (co-driver Stephane Prevot) took the Leg 1 lead in the Rally Hokkaido on Saturday.
This fifth round of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship has Gill and his Team MRF Tyres teammate Ole Christian Veiby (Stig Rune Skjarmoen) are vying for the title.
After the disappointment in the previous round in the International Rally of Johor (Malaysia), the Japan event looks to be going far better for the Indian, who is driving a Skoda Fabia R5.
Gill may not have liked it this way, but he may just have made it that much closer to his third APRC title and second one on the trot. His Norwegian teammate exited the rally after the third Special Stage, which was the second of the day.
After 11 Special Stages, Gill's total time is 1hr12m3.4s. That is 2m32.9s ahead of Cusco Racing's Japanese driver Yuya Sumiyama (Takahiro Yasui), who is driving a Fabia R5. In third place is Sweden's Robert Blomberg (Lars Andersson), of Mpart Sport, in a Mitsubishi Mirage AP4. Blomberg is 6m59.0s behind Gill.
Gill was in total control of the proceedings on the day and won all 10 Special Stages that were run on the day.
While Gill was having things going his way, the others were in all sorts of trouble. Finn Jari Ketomaa (Ville Mannisenmaki), in an Mitsubishi Mirage, had an excursion in SS3 and retired.
New Zealand's Michael Young (Malcolm Read) did not have the best of days too. The engine on his Toyota Vitz packed up in SS3.
Meanwhile, India's Sanjay Takale (Noriko Takeshita, Japan) also faced bad luck with his Mirage suffering a tyre puncture after SS3.
SS3 is the Kunneywa stage and it is 28.75Km long and that is where most of the retirements happened.
Japan APRC: Gill, Veiby in title hunt
Japan APRC: Gill clinches win in Hokkaido