Motorsport: Gill takes out Rally Queensland

Gaurav Gill of India mastered the muddy Queensland special stages. Photo / Geoff Ridder
Gaurav Gill of India mastered the muddy Queensland special stages. Photo / Geoff Ridder

Indian driver Gaurav Gill splashed to a dominant victory in a rain-shortened International Rally of Queensland Sunday.

Gill, driving for the Indian-owned and Czech-run MRF Skoda team, won 12 of the 13 special stages across the weekend's Round 2 of the FIA Asia Pacific Championship, increasing his lead in the 2016 drivers' standings.

Forecast heavy rain swept the Mary Valley forestry stages after this morning's loop of four stages, forcing organisers to cancel the afternoon re-run over 61 kilometres. They replaced it with a new section, only 1.2 kms long but sufficient for competitors to complete the minimum total distance needed to qualify for championship points.

Gill's young German teammate Fabian Kreim denied him a clean-sweep of the weekend, claiming this morning's opening test. Kreim finished second overall, almost two minutes behind Gill but 45 sec. ahead of Subaru-mounted Mike Young of New Zealand.

Crews in the Asia Pacific, Australian and Queensland championship rounds battled increasingly slippery roads in the Imbil state forest as the unseasonal rain intensified.

"It was quite a challenging rally, quite difficult with the conditions changing all the time," said Gill, who recorded his second Queensland victory in six years.

"But we got a good set-up in the morning on Saturday and pushed a little bit (to build up the lead).

"The stages were already wet from overnight rain. Now it is pouring completely!"

Kreim said he was glad to reach the finish of only his second gravel rally, while Young recovered strongly from a setback on Saturday morning.

"It is a really good result for us. We made the wrong tyre choice on Saturday morning but it all worked out in the end," Young said.

"It's always hard going against the (Skoda) R5 cars, but I think we showed what we've got."

After running in the top three early in the weekend, Australian driver Nathan Quinn saw hopes of a podium result fade with engine and transmission problems. He finished fourth.

Kreim, with co-driver and countryman Frank Christian, won the two-round Pacific Cup.

The FIA Asia Pacific Championship continues at Round 3 in Zhangye, western China, on 6 August.

Round 3 of the Kumho Tyres Australian Rally Championship was won by local Sunshine Coast driver Ryan Smart in a Mitsubishi Lancer.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 26 Sep 2016 01:59:00 Processing Time: 488ms