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MRF’s Gaurav Gill on verge of historic clean APRC sweep

Gaurav Gill of Team MRF is poised for an unprecedented clean sweep of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship as he surged to a commanding and unassailable lead at the end of Leg-1 in the Coffee Day India Rally on Sunday.

MRF’s Gaurav Gill on verge of historic clean APRC sweep
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Gaurav Gill

Chikmagalur District

Gill (co-driver Glenn Macneall), who took rally driving to a level not seen before in India, ended the day with a handsome lead of seven minutes, 33.6 seconds over second-placed Michael Young (Malcolm Read) of Cusco Racing after team-mate Fabian Kreim (Frank Christian) crashed out early in the day. 

Should 35-year old Delhi-based Gill, who has already sealed the 2016 APRC driver’s title his second since 2013, win on Monday when the Coffee Day Rally, organised by the Motorsports Club of Chikkamagaluru, concludes, he will be the only competitor to achieve the rare feat of winning all the rounds of a FIA Rally championship en route to annexing the crown.

The day clearly belonged to Gill who drove the MRF Skoda Fabia R5 with aplomb, negotiating the tight and twisty estate roads with rare mastery, especially in the unforgiving corners that flowed one into another. Placed third in the APRC was Punebased Sanjay Takale (Nokiro Takeshita) of Cusco Racing while team-mate Yuya Sumiyama (Takahiro Yasui) retired with a mechanical problem.

Results (provisional, after leg-1): APRC: 1. Gaurav Gill / Glenn Macneall (Team MRF) (02hrs, 42mins, 32.8secs); 2. Mike Young / Malcolm Read (Cusco Racing) (02:50:06.4); 3. Sanjay Takale / Noriko Takeshita (Cusco Racing) (03:00:06.5).

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