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From rallies to boats, Gill sets the bar high

If motorsports is all about speed, adrenalin and endurance, Gaurav Gill is a synonym in the right mixture of all the above. The 35-year-old motorsport champion was on a high during the last season that culminated with a 100%-win record in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the FIA Motorsport Person of the Year award.

From rallies to boats, Gill sets the bar high
Team MRF?s Gaurav Gill was at his best in the APRC last season winning all the races


Gill, who is associated with Chennai-based rally team MRF, swears by the logic of “Evolve or go home.” Explaining further on the statement, Gill added: “Technology moves faster than what we are actually thinking it to be. We need to keep pace with the evolution and in this competitive sport, being on top of the game is of prime importance. The attitude and commitment to the sport needs to be at a high and only if we are progressing at a pace the world and the sport is moving, we get to stand a chance to excel.” 

In a bid to explore and expand his wings, Gill would be taking part in the P1 Powerboat Racing Indian Grand Prix, that is scheduled on the shores of Mumbai in March. Unlike in Formula One, where cars are different for different drivers, all the boats taking part in this race will have identical engines and identical specifications. It boils down to the sheer talent of the individual racer. “We do not have a huge marine culture in the country. I am excited to be taking part in the Powerboat championship. It is something new that I can learn and compete that would give me a unique experience. It is a oneoff experiment for this year,” Gill said.

Obtaining a licence Powerboat licence wasn’t quite easy. “We had to undergo a lot of tests, both practical and written. The tests were spread over a period of seven days and apart from obtaining the licence, it has hooked me to the seas and water,” he laughed. 

(Gaurav Gill will participate in the P1 Powerboat Racing Indian Grand Prix, that is scheduled on the shores of Mumbai in March)

The APRC rally holds a special place in Gill’s heart. He became the first Indian to win the APRC in 2013 and more recently in 2016, Gill motored into record books while taking his second APRC title with six wins in as many races. 

Gill believes excellence is a by-product of hard work. “I make sure I sleep for at least 10 hours a day before the race day as getting adequate rest is the most important and the first step to success. I do regular work-outs and as this sport is always about endurance, I make sure to stay hydrated and keep my energy levels up all the time,” he said.

While the race is spread across the Pacific and the Asian regions, Gill had to overcome the hardest of conditions to succeed. While driving in New Zealand or in Japan could be easy, the humid conditions of Malaysia and India are a challenge. “The in-cabin temperature can go up to 60 degrees celsius and I prepare myself for these extreme conditions by running at 12 or 1 in the afternoon, wear race suits and sit in the sauna for an hour to get acclimatised to the conditions,” he added. 

Unlike Formula One where the machine gets more importance than the driver, rallies have drivers hogging the limelight. “Unlike in an F1 race, we drive from point A to point B in a rally. There might be too many corners, the terrains change and the skills required to manoeuvre are higher. We might start the race in the plains and end up in the mountains. We have to drive to the conditions and the multi-dimension nature of the sport keeps me hooked on to it and not let me venture into the glamourous cousin of rallying,” Gill added. 

Gill loves to be busy during off-season too. “I am not the typical weight-lifting guy at the gym. I continue my high-intensity training and continue my outdoor training. The concentration now is on Powerboat and then rallies will follow,” he signed off.

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