Gaurav Gill notches historic APRC victory
Gill wrapped up the final race of the 2016 APRC season with a win in Chikmagalur, following his success in New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan and Malaysia. And by doing so, the 35-year old champion driver became the first person to win all rounds of an FIA championship on way to annexing the title. The 2016 title is his second after his maiden triumph in 2013. In winning the Coffee Day India Rally, Gill (co-driver Glenn Macneall) amply demonstrated his driving prowess and had a lot to spare at the finish while clocking 3\:39\:37.9 s over 17 Special Stages while Cusco Racing's Michael Young (Malcolm Read) came home a distant second, over 11 minutes behind and his team-mate Sanjay Takale (Noriko Takeshita) in third (04\:03\:51.0). Gill, in his Race Torque-prepared MRF Skoda FabiaR5, admitted it was befitting that he achieved the record in his home country and in front of a legion of adoring fans that thronged the three-day event. Gill's long-time partner Macneall also clinched the co-driver's title while MRF took the team championship and Skoda pouched the manufacturer's crown. With his MRF team-mate and Fabian Kreim (Frank Christian) not in the fray following a crash on Sunday, Gill, who led overnight by over seven minutes, pushed in the early part of the day, but with his car encountering some problems managed to take his car across the finish line, albeit having to ease off. While Gill pretty much stole the limelight, Karna Kadur (Nikhil Pai) of Team Yokohama 2K took top honours in the MRF FMSCI Indian Rally Championship, that was run along side, after his nearest rival and overnight leader, Amittrajit Ghosh (Ashwin Naik) was forced to retire due to mechanical problems. Finishing second behind Kadur was Dr Bikku Babu (Milen George) and team-mate Rahul Kanthraj (Vivek Bhatt) in third. Kadur also topped in the INRC 2000 category for the second time this season while Takale won in the IRC class that he had also entered apart from APRC, and Jacob KJ (Manoj Mohanan) chalked up his fourth consecutive win in the FMSCI Cup to bag the championship with a round to spare.