Gaurav Gill won the Vinz Rally of Whangarei, New Zealand, driving for team MRF in his Skoda Fabia S2000. This was the inaugural round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). Gill, also the 2013 APRC champion, had said before the season began that he will defend his title this year.
Team MRF Skoda Team took the first and second spot, with Gill’s teammate Jan Kopecy, who is making his APRC debut, finishing second. Kopecy won Leg 1 on Saturday with the final 27.3 km Springfield 2, he needed only 10.9 seconds to beat Gill, but finally Gill turned out to be the faster driver by finishing 1.1 second quicker than Kopecy.
“We’ve come close to winning here before but every year we’ve had some issue either technical or mechanical. This time it was the best way to win – to come from the back, especially being down by 23 seconds – it was a massive amount of time to make up in this situation,” said Gill.
“The most important thing is it was a level playing field for Kopecký and I. He is the European champion and I’m the defending champion so is good benchmark for me. Plus we had new stages this rally and I had to push really hard – that’s what makes the win so much more exciting for me and the team,” he added.
This is no mean feat to come triumphant after being down on the first day by around 23 seconds. However, going by how things are looking ahead, Gill has fierce competition in his teammate who is the reigning European champion. It seems like the battle will get intense in the next round of APRC, Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonia to be held from May 16-18.
Images: Skoda Motorsports facebook page.