India’s Gaurav Gill has been a master at the wheel but, this time around, he has Team MRF mate Ole Christian Veiby standing in his way as the Coffee Day India Rally 2017, which doubles up as the fifth and final round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), begins here on Friday.
Organised by the Motor Sports Club of Chikmagalur, the championship is expected to go down to the wire as only six points separate Gill and Veiby.
The two-time champion, though, is confident of upstaging Veiby as he will be on familiar terrain, oft described as the ‘Rally of 1000 corners’, but it may not be an easy task as the latter, a 21-year-old from Norway, has the ability to stun the champion.
Interestingly, a bunch of die-hard fans have landed from Singapore to cheer the Delhi-based Gill. “There’s only one way to retain the crown and that’s by winning,” said Gill.
Also in the APRC fray will be two other Indians — PG Abhilash (Team PGA Motorsports) in a Subaru Impreza WRX Sti, who leads in the Production class, and US-based Sumit Panjabi (SNAP Racing) piloting a Mitsubishi Evo 8.
The fourth round of the MRF-FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship, promoted by Ramakrishna Race Performance Management (Kolkata), will also be run concurrently with 39 entries.
The stages have been widened to increase the average speed. “Wherever we could we have widened the road this year, but the route is exactly the same,” said D. Ramkumar, the Clerk of the Course.
Source: The Hindu