Gaurav Gill, reigning APRC Champion and Team MRF Skoda's driver, made a good comeback to beat the team-mate Jan Kopecky and win the VINZ International Rally of Whangarei.
The first day of rallying at saw Kopecky, take the lead ahead of his team-mate. Then, Gill had managed to spin on the second stage of the rally and subsequently struggled with lack of grip in the rear tyres. This meant he went into the second day of the rally with a 23 second deficit to his team-mate. However, the stages on the second day were ones that he was familiar with. A fact that was in evidence when he made a clean sweep of it all, winning every single one of the six stages run that day. His best stage was the 27.43 km long Springfield Stage that he won by 25 whole seconds. He would eventually win the rally from his team-mate by over 11 seconds after 220-odd kilometres of competitive stages.
Gaurav Gill commented, “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. 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 he 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.”
1. Gaurav Gill/Glenn Macneall - 2:11:39.7
2. Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler - 2:11:51.7
3. Mark Pedder/Claire Dowling - 2:20:02.3