Sizzling action in prospect at APRC final leg

Gill and team-mate Veiby separated by just six points

Sizzling action in prospect at APRC final leg

The quaint estates of Chikkamagaluru are all set to experience frenetic action as the town gears up to host the third edition of the Coffee Day India Rally, the fifth and final round of Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, from November 24 to 26.

In last year's edition of the championship, Gaurav Gill had already been crowned champion before the rally reached the coffee plantations, but there will be the promise of thrills and spills this time, as the championship is still open ahead of the final round.

Gill (136 points) sits atop the standings but by a very narrow margin, ahead of his Team MRF counterpart Ole Christian Veiby (130).

While Gill comes in with extensive knowledge of the terrain having been a part of the rally in recent years, first-timer Veiby participates in the World Rally Championship 2 (WRC 2) and his expertise cannot be discounted.

Whatever the outcome, the crowds can enjoy a close battle between the two men at the top and neither driver is willing to settle for anything short of victory.

"It's great to have OC (Ole Christian Veiby) as my team-mate and I'm really looking forward to the weekend," Gill, vying for his third APRC title, said at a press conference on Tuesday. "None of us are here to finish second so we need to be right on top of our game. I may have a slight edge having raced here previously but OC is a tough competitor so it isn't going to be easy."

Vieby, who won the ORLEN 74th Rally Poland on the WRC 2 circuit in July this year, said he would be on the offensive but cannot afford to go overboard with the aggression.

"Since the championship is still open, I will attack from the start but the key will be to finish and not go crazy. I'm still new to driving in an estate and the narrow stages will be hard, but if I can focus hard on my driving, I will be able to compete well," said the Norwegian.

Apart from the title contenders, the entry list also features veteran PG Abhilash, Kiwi Mike Young, Sri Lankan Shafraz Junaid and Sumit Panjabi.

Defending champion Karna Kadur will look to retain his title in the Indian National Rally Championship, which will take place simultaneously.

DH News Service

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