Three-time Asia Pacific Rally Champion Gaurav Gill of JK Tyre Racing played a strategic game with controlled aggression and won the FIA APRC Asia Rally Cup comfortably with a big margin at the Madras International Circuit in slushy conditions here on Sunday.
The APRC Asian Rally was run concurrently alongside the 46th South India Rally, which is the first round of the FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship.
The 41-year-old Delhi daredevil, Gaurav Gill with Aniruddha Rangnekar who is also a seven-time Indian National Rally Championship winner, built a huge lead on Saturday and nurtured it with a mature drive on the slippery stages filled with water pools, and used all his experience and knowledge of conditions to beat the Thailand pair of Mana Pornsiricherd and Meenil Thanyaphat of Toyota Rally Team by 49 seconds.
"It was a very challenging rally because of the changing weather conditions with one stage being hot and the next being cool. But thanks to the lovely tyres provided by JK Tyre, we were able to withstand the extreme conditions. It is a new team with a new car but because of the teamwork, we finished on the podium. We will not go all-out for the final round in Indonesia," an ecstatic Gill said after the rally in an official press release.
Reigning Indian champions Karna Kadur and Nikhil Pai finished third after the sudden rains derailed their campaign on Saturday at the Aavisa stage.
For the first-time APRC India round of the Asia Cup Rally received 18 entries, thanks to Vamcy Merla, the promoter, who supported the drivers with their entries and other preparations with the cars.
"We want to promote more drivers and in the coming rallies, we will encourage and try to support more drivers to go for international events," Vamcy said.
APRC Asian Rally: 1. Gaurav Gill/Aniruddh Rangnekar (01hr, 50min, 23.0secs); 2. Mana Pornsiricherd/Thanyaphat Meenil (01:51:12.0); 3. Karna Kadur/Nikhil Pai (01:56:23.4). (ANI)