Arjuna Awardee and three-time Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) winner, Gaurav Gill and co-driver Aniruddha Rangnekar piloted the Subaru Impreza with admirable control and authority after the rain in the Avisa stage made the dirt track slippery in the FIA APRC Asia Rally Cup here on Saturday.
Their efforts help them garner a comfortable lead at the end of Day 2 at the Madras International Circuit here.
Gill, the rain-master, established a handsome lead of 1min 18 seconds over his main opposition, Thailand's Mana Pornsiricherd (co-driver Menil Thanyaphat) of the Toyota Rally Team, in the penultimate stage of the day.
Clocking 18min 54.8sec in Special Stage 6 (SS6) at Avisa due to controlled aggression, Gill protected his lead in the last stage of the day a the 'Track Stage' at SS7.
Earlier, he began Saturday cautiously, with the Super Special Stage, a mix of tarmac and dirt, and the Thailand pair, who are making their international debut in India, neutralized his overnight advantage as the final day offers two more stages at Avisa and the Track at MIC each, both in reverse direction on S"nday.
"I am overwhelmed to see such a great response and so many entries for this year's APRC India Leg. The MMSC has done a wonderful job in conducting the round and I would like to congratulate Gaurav Gill for a wonderful and hope that he goes all the way"tomorrow," Vamsi Merla, promoter of the Indian leg of APRC said.
Behind the Toyota pair, Karna Kadur and his navigator Nikhil Pai, last year's winners of the Asia Rally Cup, were in third place, followed by Kolkota's former ERC winner in his class, Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driver Ashwin Naik) and Bengaluru brothers Chetan Shivram (co-driver Dilip Sharan).
Provisional Results (Saturday):
APRC: 1. Gaurav Gill/Aniruddha Rangnekar (India) (01:03:04.0); 2. Mana Pornsiricherd/Meenil Thanyaphat (Thailand) (01:04:43.4); 3. Karna Kadur/Nikhil Pai (India) (01:06:56.1).
( 330 Words)