Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Aug 13 (PTI) India’s Gaurav Gill made up a deficit of over two minutes to finish second as Team MRF delivered another 1-2 result with Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby comfortably winning the International Rally of Johor, the third round of FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship here .
Gill, the 35-year old Delhi-based defending champion, came up with one of his finest drives ever in the Race Torque-prepared Skoda Fabia R5, winning all the six Special Stages on Sunday that left the connoisseurs awe-struck as he roared past overnight second-placed Finnish ace Jari Ketomaa.
Veiby meanwhile held on to a huge Leg-1 lead to win by over four minutes, also in a Skoda Fabia R5.
The 21-year old Veiby, Skoda s factory-backed driver who recently topped the WRC-2 category in Poland, thus scored back-to-back win following his win in the second round in Australia after Gill had taken the season-opener in New Zealand a month earlier.
The win also put helped Veiby to consolidate his championship lead over Gill.
The day that was spared of rains which had marred Saturday s proceedings, belonged to Gill who had lost a lot of time on Saturday after a run-in with a tree stump and alternator problem.
He made up the two-minute, 16-second deficit to Ketomaa over a distance of just 76 Kms and went on to beat the World Rally Championship driver by 18.8 seconds, but finished 04:41.7 adrift of Veiby.
Gill s pace was phenomenal as he made 26 seconds on Ketomaa in the day s first Stage (11.98Kms), 31 in each of the next two (12.21Kms and 13.93Kms) on the first loop. After service, Gill made a further 69 seconds in the second loop of the same Stages to emerge second.
“For sure, it was one of my best drives, very fast and precise. I didn t make any mistakes. I was driving at 110 per cent which was what I always wanted do and what all the top drivers do.
“We had amazing speed, good pace notes and made correct tyre choice. I drove my heart out and pushed the car beyond its limit. But the small mistake I made yesterday cost me the Rally or else, we could have won,” said Gill.
FIA APRC: 1. Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjarmoen (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (3hrs, 02mins, 39.1secs); 2. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (03:07:20.8); 3. Jari Ketomaa / Ville Mannisenmali (Mpart Sport, Mitsubishi Mirage) (03:07:39.5).
FIA Asia Cup: 1. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (03:07:20.8); 2. Michael Young / Malcolm Read (Cusco Racing, Subaru Impreza) (03:18:42.9); 3. Yuva Sumiyama / Takahiro Yasui (Cusco Racing, Skoda Fabia R5) (04:10:42.8).
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.