New Zealand APRC: Gill overturns Leg 1 deficit to win opener

India’s Gaurav Gill overturned a 33.2s deficit in Sunday’s final leg to win the opening round of Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in New Zealand.

New Zealand APRC: Gill overturns Leg 1 deficit to win opener
Gaurav Gill, Team MRF
Gaurav Gill, Stéphane Prévot, Skoda Fabia R5, Team MRF
Gaurav Gill, Stéphane Prévot, Skoda Fabia R5, Team MRF
Gaurav Gill, Stéphane Prévot, Skoda Fabia R5, Team MRF
Ole Christian Veiby, Stig Rune Skjærmoen, Skoda Fabia R5, Team MRF
Ole Christian Veiby, Stig Rune Skjærmoen, Skoda Fabia R5, Team MRF

After winning Friday’s two special stages, double APRC champion Gill dropped over half-a-minute behind MRF teammate Ole Christian Veiby on Saturday with damper issues.

But the Indian fought back in the final leg, winning three of the day’s six stages to add another APRC victory to his bag.

He finished 2m02.8s clear of Veiby, who’s running was compromised by a brake issue.

The Norwegian driver was also handed a 90 second penalty for arriving late to SS14, as his team conducted roadside repairs on his Skoda Fabia R5.

“We are here to win,” Gill said. “Being professionals, we are always wanting to win although it is important to make sure we do it at the right time and right place in the championship.

“This has been a good rally. Very very difficult for me and while Veiby has been driving very well the incident today pushed him back, after we had some issues yesterday that pushed us back.

“So, I guess that is part and parcel of the sport. Our other most important thing is to have both cars sitting one and two for the MRF team.”

Someway behind the top-two runners, Robert Blomberg finished third in the sole remaining Mpart-run Mitsubishi Mirage after the sister car of former WRC driver Jari Ketomaa retired with an engine failure.

Japanese driver Fuyuhiko Takahashi was classified fourth among the APRC class, while PG Abhilash rounded off his debut APRC weekend with a fifth place finish.

APRC Rally Whangarei Results:

Pos

Driver

Car

Time/gap

1

 Gaurav Gill

 Stephane Prevot

Skoda

2hr35m06.8s

2

 Ole Christian Veiby

 Stig Rune Skjarmoen

Skoda

2m02.8s

3

 Robert Blomberg

 Lars Andersson

Mitsubishi

17m45.5s

4

 Fuyuhiko Takahashi

 Mitsuo Nakamura

Subaru

28m17.6s

5

 PG Abhilash

 Srikanth Gowda

Subaru

33m42.9s

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