India’s Gaurav Gill notched a historic win here today as he emerged champion in the Coffee Day India Rally, the concluding round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
It was 35-year old Gill’s sixth consecutive win in the APRC this season following his success in New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan and Malaysia. In the process, the Delhi-based champion driver became the first person to win all rounds of an FIA championship on way to annexing the title. The 2016 title is his second after his maiden triumph in 2013.
In winning the Coffee Day India Rally, Gill (co-driver Glenn Macneall) amply demonstrated his driving prowess and had a lot to spare at the finish while clocking three hours, 39 minutes, 37.9 seconds over 17 Special Stages while Cusco Racing’s Michael Young (Malcolm Read) was a distant second, over 11 minutes behind and his team-mate Sanjay Takale (Noriko Takeshita) who came third (04:03:51.0).
Gill, who drove the super-quick Race Torque-prepared MRF Skoda Fabia R5, admitted it was befitting that he achieved the record in his home country and in front of a legion of adoring fans that thronged the three-day event, organised by the Motorsports Club of Chikkamagaluru, in their thousands.
“Undoubtedly, this is my most satisfying win if only because it was achieved in India and here in Chikkamagaluru. Coming into this Rally with five wins out of five, there was pressure on me and high expectations. More importantly, I hope that my wins and the record make motorsport more popular in India and also attract manufacturers and sponsors.