Gill powers ahead of Veiby

Gill powers ahead of Veiby

Championship leader Gaurav Gill kept his nose slightly ahead of his MRF team-mate and title contender Ole Christian Vieby after a blazing run in the Super Special Stage of the Coffee Day India Rally, the fifth and final round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship here on Friday.    

Gill (co-driver Stephane Prevot) clocked a blistering  two minutes, 17.7 seconds over the 2.1 km circuit while APRC debutant Veiby (Stig Rune Skjarmoen) returned 02:17.9 in a thrilling exhibition of controlled aggression by the duo, both driving Race Torque-prepared Skoda Fabia R5's.

Finishing a distant third was PG Abhilash (Srikant Gowda) of Team R3A PGA Motorsports in a Subaru Impreza WRX Sti, timing 02:30.5. He was ahead of New Zealand's Mike Young (Malcolm Read), Sumit Panjabi (Nitin Jacob) and Sri Lanka's Shafraz Junaid (Akhry Ameer) in view of a sizeable coffee town audience.

Gill, who leads Veiby by six points in the winner-takes-all APRC title stakes, was last on the track and rode on the wave of popular support with a drive that would be long remembered after the 21-year old Norwegian, a regular in the WRC-2, posted a seemingly quickest time.

With so little separating them, Gill and Veiby are thus set for a battle royale over the next two days as the APRC caravan heads out to the estates of title sponsors Coffee Day Global for the Special Stages.

Veiby said: "This event is nicknamed as "Rally of 1000 corners", but it looks more like a million corners. The Stages are quite fast and I have never driven on such terrain. So, it is all about having a good feel of the car."

In the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship that is being run concurrently and also organised by the Motor Sports Club of Chikmagalur, Younis Ilyas (Harish Kumar) was the quickest overall (02:35.7) followed by Arjun Rao (Satish Rajagopal) and Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik) of Team Mahindra Adventure.

Provisional results (Super Special Stage – 2.1 Kms): FIA APRC: Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) 2:17.7secs, 1; Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjarmoen (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) 2:17.9, 2; PG Abhilash / Srikant Gowda (Team R3A PGA Motorsports, Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) 2:30.5, 3.

MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship (Overall): Younis Ilyas / Harish Kumar 2:35.7, 1; Arjun Rao / Satish Rajagopal (Volkswagen Polo R2) 2:36.2, 2; Amittrajit Ghosh / Ashwin Naik (Mahindra Adventure, XUV 500) 2:36.6, 3.

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